Do you believe rumors?

Rumors travel and spread at lightening speed! Whether about the private life of guy across the hall or an upcoming wave of lay-offs at the firm next door, they effortlessly capture the attention of the gossip within us all. Admit it, once you hear the phrase, “I just heard that…”, you—like the rest of us—are all ears.
But gossip becomes a lot less fun when you are its subject. And no rumor, be it about a person or a company, should ever be taken lightly.
In business, rumors, hearsay, secrets, and criticism all translate as wasted time and energy. Furthermore, no company, even the most transparent, is completely immune to strategic conniving, especially during troubled times.
What can be done to expose and stop this type of harmful behavior?

To help you assess your attitudes toward rumors and gossip, here are 10 questions to answer before considering comments by Mauricio Goldstein and Philip Read, authors of Games at Work (Jossey Bass, 2009).

1. Rumors are conspiracies

  • True
  • False

2. Rumors are always false, because they stem from unverified information.

  • True
  • False

3. Rumors spread because they tend to be ignored.

  • True
  • False

4. Gossip is always negative.

  • True
  • False

5. Rumors should not be taken lightly.

  • True
  • False

6. It would be a serious mistake to not do anything about a rumor.

  • True
  • False

7. It is very difficult to keep rumors under control.

  • True
  • False

8. Rumors are always signs of unease.

  • True
  • False

9. Rumors, secret agreements, and scheming compromise leadership.

  • True
  • False

10. It is difficult to recover from harmful gossip or scheming.

  • True
  • False