Workplace Gossip is the Kiss of Death – For Your Career

Rich Habits

In my Rich Habits Research, one of the data points I found interesting had to do with gossiping.

Ninety-four percent of the wealthy avoided gossiping vs. 79% of the poor, who engaged in it regularly.

I never thought much about gossiping until I stumbled upon it in my research. Since then I’ve learned quite a bit about it from numerous other studies.

Here are some startling stats that I uncovered in my research on gossiping:

  • 90% of workplace conversations are gossip.
  • 15% of workplace email content is gossip.
  • 60-70% of gossip is negative – Gossip is 2.7 times more likely to be negative.
  • Gossip irreparably damages relationships.
  • Gossip causes chronic stress.
  • Engaging in gossip, either by communicating it or listening to it, flips your mindset from positive to negative.
  • 60% of gossip is judgmental.
  • Gossip often destroys reputations in the workplace.

Spontaneous trait transference, also known as the Boomerang Effect, is a phenomenon where people are perceived as possessing a trait that they describe in others (Hovland, Janis and Kelly, prominent psychologists, first recorded and named the boomerang effect in 1953). 

Telling others that your friend is lazy will cause them to infer that you are lazy. Those who engage in regular gossip, most of which is negative, are inadvertently creating negative perceptions of themselves.  

No good can come from gossiping, which is predominantly negative. It not only damages the reputations of those you gossip about, it also has a boomerang effect, damaging your own reputation.

Like many behaviors, it’s a habit that must be broken if you hope to succeed in life. Awareness is the key to changing any habit.

When you find yourself engaging in gossip, stop and change the subject immediately. Or, only engage in positive gossip, which is a Rich Habit. Good gossip, saying something positive about someone when they are not around, will make others like you. They will unconsciously assume that you will say nice things about them to others as well.



  1. Davene Meehan on August 23, 2021 at 4:16 PM

    Yes. And this is a habit I have to fight so much. I notice it is a practice that Dave Ramsey bans from his entire business. There was this lady that drove me batty because she came to me every day complaining and requesting food. I complained to everyone about her but her. One day I told her that she drained me. She was shocked and immediately became a pleasant lady to be with and work with. To the point that I forgot that I ever had a problem about it until she asked me how she was doing a year later. I discovered by trying to protect her by venting with others; I was only growing the problem.

  2. Oluwafemi Onojobi on August 24, 2021 at 5:10 AM

    Most gossipers are non-achiever. I agree with the above statistics.