Though workplace gossip may seem innocent enough, sometimes sharing information can be damaging to the image and respectability of dental staff and the practice as a whole. Sometimes dental office gossip and negativity can also find its way into meetings or exchanges with patients. It could come in the form of subtle put downs or overt and malicious harassment. This type of behavior is harmful and can generate productivity issues and damage team morale. It can even lead to costly turnover issues when core staff members begin looking for jobs elsewhere. You cannot afford to let gossip run amok, you have to do what you can to stop gossip before it spreads like a bad case of periodontitis.
How to Spot Gossip
From a distance, gossip can look just like idle chit chat. However, in a conversation, you should be able to distinguish between the two immediately. Gossip is often negative, embarrassing, inflammatory, or harmful to the person being spoken of. If you are taking part in such a conversation ask yourself these questions:
1. Does this revel in the misfortune of others?
2. Does this perpetuate conflict or cause a rift?
3. Is this intended to be damaging?
4. Is this expressed in a negative way?
5. Is this something you would say in front of that person?
Bottom line, gossip hurts and can have many adverse effects in an organization. But how can you put a stop to it? Here are four tips.
1. Stop Participating
The first things you must do are set the example and refuse to participate in negative gossip. Stop spreading it and stop listening to it. If you want to have an office wide impact then you must model the behavior you want to see. Practice changing the subject or just walking away.
2. Foster Regular, Positive Communication
One thing you can do is talk more with staff members about what is going on in the workplace and encourage “positive gossip.” This regular communication minimizes the need for gossip, especially if you are open about information. By spreading information rather than gossip, team members have pertinent news up front, and do not have reason to speculate. Also try to share positive stories or experiences regarding other employees; such as an especially contented patient or a successful set of dentures and partial dentures in troy ohio. This positive gossip will help employees feel proud of their work and can go a long way towards encouraging top-quality work and behavior.
3. Address the Specific Perpetrators
If your indirect efforts prove fruitless, you might have to take action. Confront the staff members and stop the problem at the source. Sending out a mass email, creating a company wide policy, or using a blanket statement during a staff meeting doesn’t count. No matter how much you want to avoid conflict, sometimes the only way to stop a problem is with a direct, one-on-one conversation. Your main goal should be to help the individual understand the negative impact of their behavior and get to the bottom of what is really bothering them. Then tell them the exact consequences if their behavior persists. Be understanding, but firm.
4. Stay Focused
As a dental office, the top priority should always be optimal patient care. Instead of getting drawn into the drama, encourage staff to focus on doing their job. This will leave little room for damaging gossip and will put all the attention where it belongs, on helping patients preserve or restore their smiles with quality care and restorations.
It is important that all team members understand how gossip threatens the business. Just like periodontitis leads to damaged smiles, missing teeth, and the possible need for dentures, there is no quick fix once gossip gets out of control. It requires time to take a stand against gossip and create a practice culture that does not tolerate it. Though the actual piece of gossip is short lived, it can filter through management, staff, and patients with long-lasting effects.