I was watching a movie just recently called “Doubt”. I don’t know if you have heard about it, however in a nutshell it is about a Priest who seemed to be showing a lot of interest in one of his alter boys. The head Nun started to notice this activity and then started to ask others if they had seen anything a bit unusual about the Priest’s behavior.
I am sure that you have been in situation where something seemed a little unclear, and then people around you started to question what was going on, instead of going straight to the person to find out what was happening.
Anyway throughout this process the Priest’s character was being challenged and his motives. This of course started to spread throughout the community and a lot of gossip and doubt was being spread throughout about the Priest’s intentions.
The Priest in his next sermon of cause started to talk about gossip and doubt. His story to the community was about this boy going to one of his mentors regarding his involvement in creating gossip about someone’s character. The boy was ashamed as he had been wrong and had created a lot of despair to this person who he was talking about.
After hearing the boy’s story, the mentor asked him to go home and get a knife and cut his pillar open. In those days the pillars where made out of feathers. The boy was living on the top floor of a building. Once he cut open the pillar this mentor told him to then go out to his balcony and let all the feathers fly away from his balcony, and return back to him on the following day.
So the boy went home and carried out his mentor’s wishes and watched all the feathers fly away in the breeze. He returned back the next day back to his mentor.
His mentor asked him if he had carried out his orders from the previous day. The boy nodded still feeling ashamed in what he had started. The mentor said to the boy, “please return home now and collect all the feathers from your pillar and bring them back to me.”
The boy explained “That is impossible as all the feathers have flown away, and that he could never get them all back.” The mentor paused and looked the boy in the eye and he stated “and that is gossip!”
What an amazing story. It makes you just stop and think about why we get caught up in gossip so easy. Is it because we enjoy drama or simply just bored? Watching this movie certainly makes me think twice now before I get caught up in gossip. What do you think?
Gossip in the workplace is dangerous. It seems so harmless. The little chitchat at the water cooler about so and so. The debate over someone’s relationship with someone else. The speculation about so and so. Is it chitchat or is it gossip? How can you tell the difference? And who cares? There is a very big difference, and it is an important one, because gossip run amok can be dangerous and destructive in the workplace.
Gossip hurts and have many adverse side effects on an organization. It can increase conflict and decrease morale. It results in strained relationships. Gossip breaks down the trust level within the group, which results in employees second-guessing each other and ultimately running to the supervisor to clarify the directions or instructions, or to settle the differences that will arise. Gossip is the death of teamwork as the group breaks up into cliques and employees start refusing to work with others.