Today, we have to sort through a LOT of literal fake news, half-truths, whole-lies and rumors. Rumors come in many forms but are always the start of something bad, no matter how they were intended. So, what causes them in the first place? I’d like to suggest that if people don’t know what the facts are, they will tell the story that they believe to be true. This is especially true in the workplace. I may be naïve, but I do not believe that people start rumors for the sake of telling lies – unless they are a politician (myself excluded). One of the key responsibilities that leaders have is to keep the truth ahead of the story. Leaders need to be mindful of the “tidbits” of information that they share and of what information they don’t share. The most effective way to keep the truth ahead of the story is through regular transparent communications.
For many at work, communication looks like an email or a memo and for others, it’s communicating in person or by videoconference. The old saying is that the truth will set you free and, in this case, you will be free from rumor. If your organization is facing uncertain times, be truthful about what is happening and do not speculate. Leaving people with your speculation of what is to come will only set their minds free to build upon it and generate stories of their own. Rumors can have widespread effects on an organization. They can easily take on a life of their own as each person adds a little of their story to the one being spun; and a rumor mill is born. The rumor mill can only be defeated by facts and our job as leaders, is to fill them with facts.
“The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.“ Proverbs 18:8
Who doesn’t love a juicy bit of gossip? We love to fill in the blank when someone asks, “did you hear?” God gave us the Ten Commandments, in which He tells us about how we should treat our neighbors. Pretty soon the rumors we pass on become our truths and then these “truths” will start to fill our lives. Rumors are the devil’s work and he loves for us to spread them.
When we engage in gossip, we not only become more concerned about defending the “facts” we’re spreading but we are breaking God’s Commands; the real truths that God has placed before us. People also start to tell themselves “stories” about what God really says. Soon we begin to believe these as facts and we no longer feel the need to learn and live the truth He has provided us. God has communicated the truth to us through His inspired word of the bible. If the truth is what stops rumors, then we need to know the truth which we do by reading the word of God. Be filled with His truths and not those of the devil. Take in more than choice morsels and let it go down to the inmost parts so that you are satisfied and nourished by God’s word. The truth of God WILL set you free from the shackles of sin.