Getting information out of your coworkers might make you feel like you know what's going on in the office, but relying on gossip might not be a good strategy.
Beverly Flaxington, a management consultant, writes in Advisor Perspective that you should never listen to gossip — even if you think it's beneficial for the company and especially if the firm is a smaller one.
Because there's always two sides to every story, Flaxington says, and it's always just "one person’s view of what happened or what was said."
This can get bad if what you hear turns out to be a problem that needs to be addressed.
"The only way you could possibly get resolution is to deal with the employee directly. If you are operating on gossip, how do you do this? Do you reveal your source? Do you pretend you don’t know and try to get the information out of the person another way? No good can come of it. People get very defensive if accused or tattled on by someone else. Trying to use gossip constructively is fraught with problems."
Instead, Flaxington advises to have a business culture where you deal with problems openly. For example, if someone comes to you about a problem that involves someone else, you should not speak to them about it until they have spoken to the other person about it first. This is how you "instill respect for one another as part of your culture."NOW SEE: 13 smart ways to deal with your crazy boss >
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