I recently came upon your webcast and absolutely look forward to a new one every week now. My commute to and from work is time well spent now. I did a search on all of the old podcast and might have missed one, but I am looking for a podcast or even some advice on how to handle rumors.

I work in a small company(75 people) and am in middle management and have been in my position for 6 months (external hire).Rumors are flying about position changes and my direct report. I always take the high road, but keep getting dragged back into the muck and mire, because I happen to be a good listener. I don't add fuel to the flame by adding what I hear or observe.

Any advice on the best way to handle this, I think a podcast on this might be something everyone would benefit from.

Thanks for the work you put into the podcast, it is making a difference out here.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Rumors are in our queue. And, I can't understand why you keep getting dragged down into the muck if you really are taking the high road.

Roni Bartlett's picture

Did this podcast ever happen?  

tlhausmann's picture
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Hi Roni,

I think the "rumors" issue was covered by a few podcasts that you may find helpful:

"Gossip Avoidance"

"How to Stop Gossip"

"Politics: Have Nothing Bad to Say"

Welcome to the forums!



okrasean's picture

After thinking about it you are right, just the fact of me listening and responding to different parties, keeps me involved. I need to handle this better, maybe my high road is not high enough. Thanks for the response and keep up the great podcasts, it really has made a difference in the way I manage.

kaspar's picture

my problem is, normaly you want to know what your people are talking about, and now except for the rumours...

for me it is different. I specialy want to know. my first item in my teammeeting is: what are the rumours in the hallway. when the rumours go into ethical-country (sexual harrasment, hiearchical relations, black-sickleave, bribes, other illegal behaviors), I definetly want to know.

i'm very interested what your position is.

Mark's picture
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No offense, but my position on what? I don't understand what you're asking. Why are you worried about these things? What kind of company are you in? What kind of team do you have? What are the rumors? How will your knowing help your effectiveness?

Please elaborate.


kaspar's picture

Maybe my reply was a little more about rumours in general, not specific rumours concerning your own position.

In my weekly team meeting with my managers, we are responsible for the administrative teams of a B2B Energy-company, we do spent weekly (first 5 minutes of every meeting) time to ‘’the rumours in the hallway’’. Personally I do feel very much in touch with my people, partly because of discussing this and acting upon it.

Your usage of the term ‘’effective’’ triggers me, because isn’t it so, in your opinion, managers want to know what it is your people are talking about. My experience is that most thing and development do also have a way of getting developed in the hallways, and specially between the people smoking there cigarettes outside …

drinkcoffee's picture

I think it's good that you are at least trying to address the rumors. Too many managers take an indirect approach (or ignore rumors altogether), which I think is ineffective.

I also work in a small company where rumors are rampant. Fortunately (or not, depending on your point of view) they often don't cross my desk because I'm usually "heads-down" and I'm not a high "I" where I'm talking to people all day long about non work-related issues. Still, I address rumors with my directs when I'm directly asked -- if I can. If I know something I know I can't share, then I'll say so.

I'm looking forward to the podcast so I can deal with them the MT way.

fcch_mngtools's picture

How a manager deals with rumeurs can make or break their career with a company. (and the rumeur mill is jsut pumping up here right now):

I do most of the stratgic and tactical analysis here. I have ALL the data, sign off on the conclusions and make the recommendations to the Brass.

Being new on station, for a while there'd be folks (well meaning, ... just a bit insecure perhaps), propped in the door jam to my office twice a day, trying to glean information/rumeurs from me.

I'd listen for a few moments to gauge their mind set, ... then cut them off and explain that they'll be the first to know once the Executives make a decision.

I try to keep the team members focused on the assigned tasks and also to keep a positive spin on things. (the disc model helps quite a bit).

To keep them focused I'll either just offer some encouragement on short and medium term objectives or call down the riot act! (or something in between).

Mark's picture
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I would never give the first 5 minutes of my meeting over to a discussion of rumors. What a waste of that precious time. What you're saying with the first item on the agenda is that [b]if nothing else gets done in this meeting, THIS ITEM will get done. [/b]WOW.

If you want to put it at the end, IF you have time, fine. But right now you're making your team all about rumors. You're probably elevating some rumors that would die without a whole team (an official company team!) batting it around. I bet you are even STARTING rumors... in part because of your role and your elevation of the subjects discussed.

Would I want to know about rumors? Sure. Would I give over control to my team by allowing all of them to be discussed in front of me? NO WAY.

Would I ask, maybe every other week, IN MY ONE ON ONES, what rumors are going around? Sure. Would I kill the ones I wanted to kill? Yes. Would I spend more than about 1 minute on them? Nope.

If I were in a bad mood, I would say, "get back to work." If I were in a good mood, I would say, "I trust you to keep your eye on the ball... and rumors aren't the ball. You're too good to be wasted on rumors."


Roni Bartlett's picture

When the rumours are under the guise of "for the best interest of the team"  I have a hard time discerning when to disregard a Employee X might be taking drugs, I heard from 3rd party - but, the reason X has been acting in such and suck manner is because of this possible drug issue.

Any thoughts on this?

kaspar's picture

Wow, you make me think :wink: again

aspiringceo's picture

Hi Kasper
I hate rumours and I hate and detest gossip. Whe I started my present job both were rife and a lot of the time were about me.
I introduced the concept of team briefing in to the organisation ( a good explanation and documentation can be found on the businessballs website ) and have stuck to it over the last 18 months and I have to say it works, it also had the added effect that examples of good practice got recognised and replicated.
Hope this helps

pneuhardt's picture

I once fell victim to wasting time dealing with rumors and rumor control. I soon learned the following:

- In any environment where there are at least two people present and one person they both know who is not present, there will be rumors. The larger the organization, the more rumors there will be.

- Rumors are always more prevelent in bad times than in good.

- You can't control them in anyway other than to keep doing what you are supposed to be doing in your job, be honest with those around you and be as open as you can be (based on your professional responsibilities, of course).

- Don't spend any time on them. Don't talk about them at all. Talk about what you know and do your job. And by the way, despite what so many managers think, rumor control is NOT part of your job. Ever.

kaspar's picture

Since it was my post, I do feel a need to explain why me and my team use this to be our first item on our team meeting agenda.

First, to tone down on ‘rumours’, we use the term ‘what are our people talking about in the hallway’ (or while smoking

There are several reasons for this:
• We find it a good start-up, we often have a good laugh (Does anyone of you start with the last set of target-reports? I would rather do this after about 20 minutes)
• Next item on the agenda are the four teams, 5 min each.
• I really question the statement that your first 5 minutes are the most important. Are you yourself most concentrated only the first 5 minutes of a meeting, presentation, movie or dinner in a restaurant ??!!
• I used to start with the some points of my own, and now I finish our meeting with this. Not that my points are unimportant, but most of the time half the points I prepared were already spoken about before the end of the meeting. (And it was too much ‘high D’ for me)
• If there is an elephant in the room, nothing else will get attention
• We are integrating two just acquired companies
• It helps us, a lot, to develop a interdependency between team managers in the chain of our process.
• It helps us to develop a culture of being responsible for your own team AND a bit of each others. For example: we discuss each other’s ranking of team members every 6 month.
• My team is (and I am) well informed about almost everything at first or second hand.
• For the DISC-adepts : I’m a high I, and two of my team managers have a lot of S.
• I like to start with what my people think is important. The things I think are important will get the attention they deserve during our meeting.
• I think it is one of Horstman’s laws: It’s ALL about people!

Kaspar, from Holland

CarlCoach's picture

Rumors for this is to hear and forget.