Team harmony can be improved when friendships develop within the team. The downside is cliques and gossip starting to increase. The line between casual communication and destructive gossip is thin. How can you stomp out gossip without discouraging bonding among team members? Gossip benefits no one. In fact, it’s one of the most common team chemistry destroyers. What can you and your players do to keep gossip at a minimum?
The following was excerpted from the book Championship Performance Coaching.
3 Ideas for Coaches: 1) Anticipate your team members information needs. Answer questions before they are asked.
2) Confront rumors. Call a meeting as soon as you get wind of a rumor. Let team members bring their questions and fears into the open.
3) Realize the grapevine will always exist. Be satisfied with knowing what’s happening within it. Be prepared to take appropriate and swift action to counteract its effects.
4 Ideas for Athletes: 1) Be aware. As with any bad habit, team members must first be aware that gossip is a problem before they decide to do anything about it.
2) Make a decision. Despite that fact that gossip is something that is hard to stop “cold turkey”, anyone can start with a step-by-step approach. First, cut back 10 or 20 percent per day. Don’t gossip about anyone on the team. Then gradually cut back more and more.
3) Change the subject. If you sense a gossip conversation starting, change the subject. Don’t embarrass the person who is talking. Simply change the direction of the conversation. If that fails, politely exit the conversation.
4) Play the “reverse gossip” game. When a teammate says something ‘gossipy’ about someone, respond by mentioning that players good points.
Excerpted from the book Championship Performance Coaching Volume 2: 101 Practical, Proven Sports Psychology and Team Building Strategies to Win More This Season.
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