What to do when toxic rumours are spreading

When careless talk distorts reality, managers have a problem on their hands

by Peter Crush

If this week’s petrol crisis confirms anything, it’s the fact that there’s nothing quite as dangerous as when rumour becomes perceived fact (and suddenly everyone goes just a little bit mad). 

Thanks to their liberal sprinkling of water coolers and kitchens, offices have long been hotbeds of gossip and rumour too, and with the return to them most definitely on, there’s 18 months’ worth to catch-up on. 

Most of the time, fleeting catch-ups are just that – innocent and friendly, and they help create much-needed bonds. But research on gossiping (yes it actually exists) – based on the data from 22,000 shift workers, suggests it’s a vital part of at-work learning too, with 55% of workers getting ‘most’ of their information from the grapevine and 70-90% of it being correct.

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