Possibly the sneakiest form of negative communication, gossip tends to rear its ugly head daily. Regardless of your industry, any office environment with more than two people will struggle with the "G" word. So how do you recognize and combat it?
The first step is to definine what gossip looks like, and for that I'll loosely quote one of the sharpest business minds today, Dave Ramsey.
Gossip is any negative speech that is communicated downward or laterally in the organization's structure.
Basically what that boils down to is any complaint or disgrunteled comment that is shared with someone who doesn't have the ability to change the situation is gossip.
When you have an issue with a coworker, complaing to another coworker on the same "level" won't instill any change. That's gossip. You need to address a boss, director or supervisor who has authority to correct the situation. If it's an employee of yours, don't complain to other employees, address the person specifically.
Dave Ramsey's solution to gossip is fairly easy to implement too. No tolerance. You may get a warning the first time you're caught gossiping, but after that, you're fired. He believes so strongly in the negative impact on a company that gossipers are expelled immediately.
Gossip displaces unity, can breed resentment and breaks down the desire for excellence in the work place. Don't tolerate it, whether you're the employer or employee. Replace gossip with encouragement, praise and genuine teamwork.