Toxic Workplace Gossip: Leadership Steps to Stop It | #LeadMorale

Toxic workplace gossip destroys trust, teamwork, morale, and productivity. Yet not all leaders see it as highly damaging. You hear them say, “Well that’s typical office scuttlebutt.” Some even claim that gossip has value. WRONG. Toxic workplace gossip is very damaging. Follow these leadership steps to eliminate it.

Toxic Workplace Gossip: Image is some employees gossiping about a sad employee

Leadership Steps to Eliminate Toxic Workplace Gossip. Image licensed via

Image licensed via

Leadership Steps to Eliminate Toxic Workplace Gossip

When leaders accept the truth about how toxic gossip impacts people and the organization, they can eliminate it. They can transform the culture to be open, communicative, supportive, and highly productive. Many leaders break the gossip into two categories to address this challenge more easily.

Gossip About the People

Toxic office gossip about the employees is a form of bullying that crushes morale. This toxin spreads like a cancer throughout the organization. It destroys trust as the disrespect drives people apart. It shatters teamwork and morale. Eliminate the toxic gossip and replace it with respectful, trust building, communication.


  1. Define toxic gossip and discuss its impact. Engage employees to explore this. Bring up the topic of bullying so everyone can see how toxic gossip is a form of bullying.

  2. Explore the issues of respect, trust, and dignity. Help everyone see the shared human needs.

  3. Discuss the difference between curiosity and the need for privacy. Don’t assume that you can’t do anything to stop people’s curiosity.

  4. Ask them what can they do instead of spreading toxic gossip. Have them discuss what they could do for each other and for their own development instead of engaging in toxic office gossip.

  5. Discuss what people can say to those who are spreading the gossip. In an office setting, people are often concerned about how they come across to others. Offer specific examples of what to say when someone spreads gossip to them.

Workplace Gossip About the Company

When workplace gossip about the company and impending changes catches fire (vs. knowing the fats), people’s performance can change. They may spend time protecting themselves and less time working together. The unknown may even drive some of them to seek jobs elsewhere.

As leaders, you must address the issue of office gossip. If you claim there’s nothing you can do, you are not leading morale. And if you’re not leading morale, you’re not leading anyone!

What disasters have you witnessed or experienced from toxic workplace gossip?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Do You Stop Office Bullies?
Team Voice: Power to Build a Positive Teamwork Culture

©2020 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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2 Responses to “Toxic Workplace Gossip: Leadership Steps to Stop It | #LeadMorale”

  1. Hey Kate,

    Here after a long time and like always loved your post. I do missed reading your posts as I was busy with one of my new projects, but will be regular from now on.

    Keep up the good work.

    ~ Donna

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