Chapter 6. Office Politics and Gossip

The Silent Killers

The secret is out: Office Politics can kill your dreams and success. Gossip can ruin your high hopes. It often seems like an unnecessary evil; but in reality, you are the one who has to learn how to handle these career murderers. You must play office politics and learn to manage gossip to succeed.


It is just as cowardly to judge an absent person as it is wicked to strike a defenseless one. Only the ignorant and narrow-minded gossip, for they speak of persons instead of things.

 --Lawrence G. Lovasik, Slovak priest

The Root of Office Gossip

When employees don't have the information to understand how a company is making decisions, moving forward, or generally operating, they will fill the gap in with gossip that is spread through the grapevine. Add office politics to the mix—and an environment of backstabbing, negative undercurrent, low morale, lower productivity, and other detrimental effects ensues. However, there are specific steps for you to apply in order to stamp out these dreaded killers.

When I interviewed Mary Ellen Dalton, CEO of Health Services Advisory Group, one of the questions I asked was the way in which she manages the flow of information in her office. Her answer was one that all business people need to hear and apply: "We have established a culture of: If you don't know, or you need the information, ask. There will not be retribution of any kind." Because of the problems they've had in the past with employees ...

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