Team members may understand that they aren’t supposed to gossip, but do they really know what to do when others start opening their mouths? Make sure team members are equipped to handle these situations by role-playing with them. During a team-training meeting, ask three team members to help you perform the scenario below. Then ask the group to evaluate which team member’s response they think is best. Hint: One is better than the others.
You: “Can you believe it? Terri messed up that chem panel so bad the other day. And she just got a promotion to senior technician too. That’s not fair. She shouldn’t be a senior technician if she makes mistakes like that.”
Team member 1: (Shrugs shoulders)
Team member 2: (Walks away)
Team member 3: “I’d rather just focus on this pedicure I’m doing.”
Each of these responses shows that the team member isn’t interested in engaging in gossip, but team member No. 3 offers up the best response. The phrase makes it clear that she would rather focus on situations in which she can make a difference. To make her response even better, she could add: “I’m trying to comply with our no-gossip policy and would appreciate it if you only spoke to me about things within my control. If this happens again, I’ll have to report your policy violation to the practice manager.”