Rumors Unraveled: Strategies for Fostering Inclusivity & Belonging

You guys gossip at work? 👀 Because it might be killing the sense of psychological safety.

No alt text provided for this image

This week, we’re exploring how gossip can impact psychological safety in the workplace and providing you with five practical strategies to create inclusive environments where individuals feel a sense of belonging.

In our scenario, we witnessed Erin’s experience of being subjected to harmful gossip in her work environment. Unfortunately, Erin’s situation is not uncommon, and the consequences of gossip can be far-reaching. When gossip thrives, it can literally erode the foundation of Psychological Safety within a team or organization.

And just a warm reminder, Psychological Safety refers to the shared belief that one can express themselves authentically without fear of negative consequences such as ridicule, humiliation, or exclusion.

When gossip becomes prevalent, individuals feel vulnerable and anxious about their reputations and standing within the group. This, in turn, hampers their ability to contribute openly, collaborate effectively, and trust their colleagues and superiors. As leaders, it is crucial to address gossip and create a workplace culture that fosters a sense of belonging for every person that walks through the door.

No alt text provided for this image

So, here are 5 ways we can be more intentional about creating a more inclusive environment at work ⬇️

🎙Encourage Open Communication 🎙

Be intentional about having regular, transparent, and respectful communication channels within your team. Foster an environment where individuals feel comfortable expressing their ideas, concerns, and feedback without fear of judgment or retribution. When employees know their voices are valued and heard, it enhances psychological safety.

👩🏽 🏫Lead by Example 👩🏽 🏫

As leaders, your behavior sets the tone for the entire organization. Model the behavior you want to see from others by demonstrating respect, active listening, and empathy. Avoid engaging in or tolerating gossip yourself and make it clear that it is not acceptable within the workplace.

Sidenote: Don’t let this all rest on the shoulders of leadership, though. There are ways each and everyone of us can model and lead in our own little ways.

📄Establish Clear Expectations 📄

Clearly define and communicate your expectations regarding respectful communication and behavior. Set standards that discourage gossip and emphasize the importance of maintaining a supportive and inclusive work environment. Reinforce these expectations through training sessions and regular reminders. (DM me if you need support!)

🤝Encourage Collaboration and Teamwork 🤝

Foster a culture of collaboration by promoting teamwork and cross-functional projects. Encouraging individuals to work together towards common goals helps build trust and strengthens relationships. When people feel a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose, gossip tends to diminish.

✅Address Issues Promptly and Confidentially ✅

If you become aware of gossip or harmful rumors circulating within your team, address them promptly. Take the time to listen to those involved, gather the facts, and address the issue directly and privately. Focus on resolving conflicts, correcting misinformation, and fostering understanding among team members.

Creating Psychological Safety in the workplace is an ongoing process that requires intention, attention, consistency, and effort. By addressing the impact of gossip and actively working to make your environment more inclusive, you’re more likely to create a culture where individuals feel respected, supported, and valued at work.

This week’s scenario comes from our Interactions at Work Psychological Safety training. Our training consists of employee-centered Psychological Safety conversations and team building exercises which will help employee’s learn tools for managing stress, explore the consequences of what they say and do, consider the assumptions they make about those they work with, and redefine what it means to contribute to a psychologically safe work environment.

Use the link below to inquire about training for your group!


Feeling stressed out & psychologically unsafe at work?

Check out our guides!

The Mako Method™ Resource Guide for Stress Management

Download our resource guide and learn over 50 ways you can use quick breathing exercises, affirmations, gratitude, journaling, and perspectives practices throughout the day to manage your stress and create psychological safety at work.


The Mako Method™ for Psychological Safety – The Ultimate Checklist

Download our free checklist to learn our framework of best practices for creating and experiencing more Psychological Safety at Work. 

Which guide do you want?