[Advice] The Buck Never Got Here in the First Place

At work, gossip corrodes and erodes relationships, but we can’t stop doing it. And now, unlike times previous to social media connecting, gossip no longer merely travels in whispers around the water cooler. Now it travels at the speed of thumbs.

The Buck Never Got Here

Tall tales at work come about when someone—usually an employee or a group of employees—accomplishes a task (or series of tasks) no one else in the organization thought could be accomplished.

Tall tales become myths at work, which are then printed as legend in the reward and recognition pamphlets and brochures at year-end events.

Internal conflicts arise and spread in the workplace, because under every conflict—and above every conflict—lie gossip (which spreads the story of the conflict far and wide through the organization) and the tall tale (which serve to spread the conflict terms and outcomes and begin the formation of an organizational cultural myth).

People in the organization outside the conflict define the issue by what they see (the presenting issue) and then by what they hear (the gossip). Then, they proceed to move the tall tale forward, inexorably, toward organizational myth.

Is there a better way?

People in organizations sometimes require dissonace, disruption and conflict to create change, expose injustices, encourage positive behavior, or to innovate for the future. But, while organizational leaders talk all the time about how “gossip isn’t tolerated here” or “the buck stops here,” the cultural conflict legends of many organizations do not support the truth and veracity of such statements.

Instead, employees, supervisors, managers and even C-Suite executives go along with the culture of gossip and tall tales, and then wonder silently why a corrosive conflict culture remains endemic; serving as the never-ending white noise beneath the bottom line considerations of the organizations.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

Loose Lips Sink Workplace Ships

Loose talk is everywhere at work, and it doesn’t matter whether you work in

  • an open office space
  • a coworking space
  • a “traditional” cubical environment


  • a widely geographically distributed, online, team space,

gossip, rumor, innuendo, and storytelling remain ingrained social traits of human beings.

They appear whenever two or more human beings gather together, and because they are such effective tools for passing information, maintaining the status quo and determining who’s in and who’s out, they are here to stay.

And not just for a minute or a day.

So, in workspaces of the future, expect that the gossip that used to happen face-to-face, to happen much more often via social media, messaging apps and wearable technologies.

Of course, with this change, there will be policy changes and consequences, and more opportunities for those of us who offer the tools to manage and reduce this storytelling and rumor mongering.

Particularly if it comes with a 140 character limit.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: hsconsultingandtraining@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/