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Countering Center Gossip - Guidelines for Implementing an Anti-Gossip Policy

by Margaret Leitch Copeland and Holly Elissa Bruno
March/April 2001
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Article Link: http://childcareexchange.com/article/countering-center-gossip-guidelines-for-implementing-an-anti-gossip-policy/5013822/

When asked about their greatest management challenges, a group of Vermont directors mentioned gossip as eroding professionalism in their centers. Two factors contributed to the directors' concerns: 1) during the staffing shortage, new hires are often young, inexperienced and under-educated, and 2) in small, rural towns, employees know the families enrolled in the program, which creates home and center boundary questions.

Why Do Staff Gossip?

Then when asked why staff gossip, the directors were also very clear in saying:

1) Staff members have a need to talk with other adults, and many love to talk

2) Other than common employment, staff members may have little in common with each other so they talk about parents, children, other staff and the director's decisions

3) People are trying to fit in

4) Passing on information increases a sense of self-worth

5) Staff members have strong feelings of frustration and are looking for a way to release their anger

6) People are looking for support

Gossip is a form of power. Gossipers have negative power to influence opinion, to be part of an inner circle, to feel one up or in the know, to isolate another person who is seen as a threat or to undermine constructive change. One wise director commented that ...

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