I often hear from team leaders who are wondering how they should manage petty jealousies or gossip within their teams. When this occurs, I believe the best approach is to call a team meeting. As the leader, I would lay out on the table exactly what my concerns are. I wouldn’t say, for example, that I heard John told Jim that Jerry was sleeping with Tara on the weekends. What I would say is that it has been brought to my attention that some team members may be sharing personal information about other team members on the job that is irrelevant to the workplace. I would ask the team to evaluate if that behavior is going to move the team closer or further from their goal. I would reiterate what the vision and mission of the team is. I might ask how the team wants to handle things if one team member discusses personal information about another.
In other words, I would recommend addressing the problem head on and soliciting input from the team members themselves. This way, the guilty party will indirectly learn that there is no support for gossip with the team and team members will help correct the behavior in question.
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