Cut The Grapevine and Build Connections


“You know, I heard through the grapevine…”

When this phrase is spoken, two reactions occur.

  1. People flock to hear the latest scoop.
  2. People shudder as the latest disruption comes rolling around.

Grapevines are the lifeblood of a vineyard. But in an organization, they choke the life out like a weed.

As a leader, you need to identify if you have a grapevine in your organization.  Almost every workpalce has them. Hospitals, government facilities (aka “scuttlebut”), offices, even jails (yes, inmates have their own grapevine as well). If you’re not sure you have one, here’s how to know them.


  • Allows gossip and any form of misinformation to take root, grow, and travel
  • Sabotage trust by undermining truth
  • Rewards the self-serving nature of those who partake, or look good through it
  • Take liberties by filling in perceived gaps of communication
  • Counteract any cultural progress and synergy
  • Drains productivity and shifts the focus to the latest sound bite

If you or others work the grapevine of your organization, you are guilty of perpetuating these issues through the workplace. Like a weed, they need to be rooted out, and replaced with something more healthy and beneficial to the growth of your company.

Instead, you should foster better connections within your team in which people speak factually, professionally, and seek to enhance the culture, instead of taking away from it. Solid and trustworthy communication can only happen when you build meaningful connections along the workforce that are coupled with trust and respect.

Connections will by their nature:

  • Foster trust by creating pathways for facts and truth
  • Keep everyone engaged as leaders focus on touch points with their people
  • Fleshes out agendas and toxic attitudes
  • Fill in the blanks where misinformation or conjecture creep in
  • Perpetuates an open and constant flow of information
  • Builds the culture which builds the brand that accomplishes the vision of the company

When you discover a grapevine in your organization, focus on asking specific questions that help your people arrive at the truth and the heart of the matter. As you go along, you’ll be able to replace information gaps with truth and enable others to come to a better understanding of the situation. Instruct your people to check their sources before they spread potentially damaging or false news, and remind them how this all can enhance or take away from their company’s culture and trust.

Make every effort to weed out the grapevine in your organization. Replace it with a healthy branch of communication, culture, and connection that works to make a healthy workplace.

(image: morguefile)

About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on September.20.2015, in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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