Positive Gossip?

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Awareness Advantage Podcast
Is There Such a Thing as Positive Gossip?

Kevin McCarthy, and Likky Lavji

Is there such a think as positive gossip?

Most current and past research focuses on the effect gossip in general has on people and within organizations (see Noon & Delbridge, 1993) but not specifically on "positive" gossip. The concept is hard to consider -- we are taught gossip is bad, yet researchers argue that this is not always the case. Social scientists study positive, negative, and neutral forms of gossip.

When researchers consider ‘positive gossip,’ they consider prosocial behavioral responses. For example, if a person shares information that helps the group avoid the adverse effects of a destructive or harmful peer, then this is a form of positive gossip. It is also positive when a person witnesses the "violation" and shares the outcome because this can help others correct their behavior (Alshehre, 2017).

Our panel discusses gossip in our upcoming podcast. Many agreed that there can be a grey area. For example, when discussing an employee's performance with a leadership team ahead of a review, or pay changes - is that gossip? Perhaps, but it is also necessary. Generally, the group felt that people should be open and honest, speaking to people directly... and not behind their backs--regardless of whether it was a positive or not--dealing with conflict and building trust.

At the end of the day, the thing that is most important is to interact with the people in your lives: at work, at home or with friends, or acquaintances..with authenticity, with an open mind, and positively without disparaging others.

What do you think? Can there be "positive" gossip?

Raising your self-awareness and emotional intelligence will make you a better leader. High self-awareness equips you to identify and conquer the blind spots that lead to poor decisions, strained relationships and high levels of stress. Awareness is the leader’s superpower that drives engagement, inspires retention and shifts culture. Awareness gives you the advantage you need to influence and inspire the people you lead.


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