Written By: Tracy Civick
Chances are if you work in a dental practice, you’ve heard office gossip. Most commonly, dental office gossip is blamed on the fact that dental office employees are predominantly women. However, I don’t agree. The gossip that happens amongst a dental team of women is just as common in many other industries. In fact, the statistics for office drama in male-dominated work environments is on the rise. So, what is the cause and how can we stop office gossip all together?
Office drama usually begins with one adult gossiping to another adult. These days, 60% of conversations between two people are about a third person not present. Our society has trained us to judge the lives of others. Look at the most popular reality shows… Housewives of Anywhere, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, etc. Then there is social media where we are constantly being introduced to people’s personal life and decisions. No wonder it’s inherent that we talk about what’s going on with someone else.
Employees tend to start office drama, or gossip, about another team member because they don’t like the person and the recipient of the gossip gets juicy information about someone else. We all know it is not a good idea to engage in these conversations, so why do so many of us do it? Most of the time, the person starting the gossip doesn’t feel good about themselves. It’s easy for a person to focus on other’s weakness vs. focusing on how to improve themselves. Often times, the “gossiper” is looking for attention and believes that if they share gossip, people will like them and give them attention. When they get an immediate reaction from the conversation it satisfies their longing to feel important.
Is it beyond time to implement office protocol to avoid office gossip in your practice? In the beginning, do not single out a team member for this behavior. During the next team meeting, introduce the new protocol to everyone at the same time. Have written expectations, read them aloud, ask each team member to sign it, and then discuss the consequences for breaking the protocol. I’m sure you will get some really relieved faces and I know it will warrant tons of respect for you. Most importantly, you need to set the example!
If someone tries to drag you into a conversation that you don’t want to be in, follow these steps to put an end to office drama:
“Why are you telling me this?” Asking this question will take the focus off of the gossiper’s goal of attention and let him/her know that their behavior is unacceptable. When you ask this question, they will stop. They may mumble an answer but it will never be a legitimate one.
“What did he/she say when you mentioned this issue to them?” Asking this question will disrupt their motive and thought process. They will change the topic of conversation quickly.
“Gosh, I’d be very sad if someone discussed my life like that. I really hope he/she is okay. I think I’ll take them to lunch. Hopefully it will brighten their day.” This shows compassion and kindness towards others. Your attitude will be contagious and other team members will soon catch on.
Bottom line, refuse to engage in any conversation that could potentially hurt another person should they overhear it. This will allow the team to focus on their job and be much more productive. And let’s not forget the staggering statistic that 89% of dental industry employees are women! Let’s lift each other up and add value and joy to other’s lives. Make a difference and be proud of who you are…. My bet is that you are compassionate towards others and want to show kindness to co-workers. Start the trend today!
To learn more about training your dental front office team, contact me today at FrontOfficeCoach@gmail.com or 214-755-0955. For more information about our practice management training solutions, visit www.FrontOfficeCoach.com.
About the Author…
Tracy Civick is a nationally recognized speaker, coach, and author who focuses on motivating dental front office teams to grow practice revenue and get a better handle on the daily dental practice front office tasks. Her memberships include The Academy of Dental Management Consultants and AADOM, Academy of Dental Office Managers.