Hearing gossip about people can change the way you see them — literally. Negative gossip actually alters the way our visual system responds to a particular face, according to a study published online by the journal Science. The findings suggest that the human brain is wired to respond to gossip, researchers say. And it adds to the evidence that gossip helped early humans get ahead…From NPR to read entire story

The topic of workplace gossip arises in every workplace. This study explores how, when gossip is heard and repeated it changes the way you view the person being gossiped about and the way you view the person who told you the gossip.

We all engage in gossip in one form or another the challenge as a team is what happens when departments within the organization are creating gossip about other departments.

When one department as a whole decides that another department, within the same company is slow or lazy or doesn’t care about the team or is a “burn ‘em and churn ‘em culture”.

What is a leader to do? Here are some suggestions;

  • DO NOT fuel this gossip by attempting to rally the team to prove the other department wrong. This only creates a deeper thought pattern as “the other” is the enemy. When your department views another department as the enemy collaboration ceases.
  • Share and Report to both departments. Managers and staff from both departments should be asked to partner on work tasks of shared accountabilities and then report to both departments their results. If leadership does this, then the example is set for the organization.
  • Explain & Explore the other departments success, goals and achievements.
  • Arrange a meeting with people in both department who can clearly articulate what is needed and how to change. In this meeting leave the complainers behind…you need to choose individuals who can state what to change.
  • Do Something! just ignoring the issue and continuing to gossip about the people and / or department is not going to change anything. Small changes yield sizeable results.


With a person, department or manager gossip changes the way we view the person being gossiped about while at the same time altering the effectiveness of ourselves, teams, and organizations to be successful.

What are some things you have found successful when dealing with gossip? Please share in the comments.


Could your team benefit from collaboration and shared objectives that yield results? Do you have existing processes that are purposely designed to deliver shared goals for the entire organization? Contact Mike to make you team and leaders better.


michael cardus is create-learning