Creating A No-Gossip Culture

We have a small business, and we're overcome with rivalries. Gossip is a huge issue. How do we alleviate it?

QUESTION: We have a small business with 17 people in our main office and another 44 mobile techs. We had a merger in 2008, and since then, we've overcome the rivalries between the two sets of employees. However, gossip remains a huge issue in the office. How would you recommend we change our culture to alleviate the gossip?

ANSWER: I have a zero-tolerance policy for gossip. In our company, if you have a negative, you hand it up to someone in leadership who can fix the problem. I would have a staff meeting with everyone involved and explain that if they're caught gossiping, you'll fire them.

When you allow people to halfway do their job, it’s no wonder they get frustrated. I don't sanction incompetence. You will probably have to fire five to get your message across. Tell everyone why you fired them for gossiping, and they'll stop. You'll create a culture that defends itself against gossip.