Supervisory Leadership

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Is it possible to have a respectful work environment with little gossip?

The short answer to that one is "yes," but the key is your immediate boss. It's that boss who sets standards and expectations. It's that boss who uses words and deeds to communicate what's acceptable and what's not.

The fact is that what the boss says and, more importantly, does has the most powerful impact on what the work environment is like.

If the boss respects people, makes it known that he or she expects subordinates to respect people, hold people accountable for their behavior and delivers consequences if someone doesn't deal respectfully with others, that's what creates an environment of respect.

Gossip is a little trickier because gossip is something that human beings do. There the boss has to deal with rumor control and making sure that gossip doesn't cross the line into unacceptable behavior. Gossip that doesn't respect others can do that. Gossip that puts trade secrets at risk can do that.

As always, the boss must manage behavior (what people say and what people do) to accomplish the mission and care for the people.


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