Why You Should Hire a Gossip

by Evil HR Lady on January 29, 2016

Typing that headline makes me cringe. I have a long record or opposing gossip in the workplace (and out of the workplace). Bullies often use gossip to achieve their self-centered goals. Bullies can cause tremendous damage to the workforce, and so can gossips. You know, the mean types who make up stuff and purposely set out to destroy their targets’ reputations? But it turns out that there is good in gossip.

What’s the good in gossip? It controls social behavior. Psychology Professor Frank T. McAndrew, in his article, Gossip Isn’t a Flaw-It’s a Necessary Social Skill, writes that while we’ve seen the effects of cruel gossip, but not all gossip is cruel. Some of it demonstrates social skills.

To keep reading, click here: Why You Should Hire a Gossip

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura January 29, 2016 at 5:23 pm

“Rein in”, not “reign in”, please.

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Cat January 29, 2016 at 9:28 pm

Call me socially inept, but the kind of gossip I hear at work is all mean spirited. Good things I hear about workmates is called admiration. Bullies don’t need an excuse about being pro-social in their gossip.

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Andrew_M_Garland January 30, 2016 at 5:12 am

How do you interview to know if someone is a gossip, and then the good type?

What is the weighting for hiring a good-type gossip? How much skill and experience would one sacrifice to get a good gossip?

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AntoniaB February 1, 2016 at 2:59 pm

Bear with me, this is a bit long. I was at a long check out once a while back and it was confusing – one snake that then separated into three lines when it go nearer the check out. It seemed silly, but that’s how people were doing it. I wended my way through the snake and got the place you chose to commit to one of the three cash register lines. Someone then wanted to queue jump by ignoring the snake. I told her that the line started back there. She was very aggressive about there being three lines and she could join it and everyone was stupid, she even shouted at someon staffing a till – are there three lines here??. I expostulated and held my ground. It was only when a manager said firmly – ma’am, you have to go to the back of the line that she stomped off muttering abuse.

The most annoying thing about this experience was the no-one in the snake spoke up – about ten people, whose right of first come first served I was defending. And this woman was loud, so they heard her (probably scared of her). We need to stand up for societal norms as you say – people think, oh what does it matter. But it matters because it rewards people for being selfish and encourages aggressive behavior.

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Naomi Austin February 1, 2016 at 8:48 pm

There are a couple of other types of gossips I’ve came across in a previous role. 1. Using gossip as a tool to find information. This person’s sense of power came from their knowledge of the company and it’s norms and she would say things like ‘Well I heard that Sarah had been made redundant and was really upset’ ‘I heard that Bob is leaving because he had a discaplinary’. She got a lot of ‘You know I can’t tell you one way or the other.’ from me.

2. Was the ‘concerned colleague’ if she sensed there was a drama happening she’d act concerned to get the story out so she asked my boss if I was ok at one point when I had a lot going on and was quite disappointed when he said I was fine just really busy right now

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