The grapevine can exert a powerful disruptive force inside organizations and its darker side, workplace gossip, can undermine communicator's best efforts and, at its worst, create a spiral of negativity and cynicism that halts progress. Yet these are topics we rarely discuss,choosing instead to focus on more formal (and manageable) communication channels like intranets, team briefings and employee publications. So I was delighted to discover this post about the subject on Mary Abbajay's Working Wisdom blog this week. Mary, an OD specialist in the US, discusses the impact of gossip on individuals and the organization and provides some practical tips on tackling it. It's a subject worth pondering. I've been inside a number of large organizations recently where the leaders have been battling against a tidal wave of gossip, misinformation and rumor. What's interesting is that nine times out of ten you find that poor internal communication is the root cause - managers and bosses have allowed a vacuum to form which, not surprisingly, has been filled by all sorts of rubbish. Where gossip is a big problem, it's usually just one symptom of ineffective internal comms and poor leadership. As Mary rightly points out, the solution is in regular and consistent communication, creating a climate of openness, demonstrating a commitment to discussion, listening and investing time and effort in improving line manager communication. These areas should be high on our agenda as communicators.