Gossip is common in most workplaces. There will always be colleagues who speculate about their co-workers and their motives. Most often, this normally turns out into rumor-mongering and sometimes, outright lies. The bad news is that gossip can wreck careers, reputations, Kill morale, and cause anxiety and tension in the workplace. Therefore, there is a need for employees to learn how to manage gossip in case they find themselves in an environment where gossip flourishes. Below are how to deal with the trait;
- Do not participate
Walking away from the latest office ‘story’ has proved to be an easy solution. Avoid giving visual clues that you may be interested in listening to gossip. Instead. If a colleague passes some juicy story on you, refrain from spreading it by simply keeping quiet or changing the subject. Ideally, you should take personal responsibility to act with integrity and start moving.
- Avoid the gossiper
There will always be that person who will like to gossip all the time in the workplace. If you are working close to that person, you should try to avoid that person as you might end up using more time gossiping instead of being productive. This, in turn, can make you waste more time at the workplace. Therefore, if you notice that a certain colleague likes gossiping a lot, you should avoid him or her like a plague. Although it might be difficult to control workplace gossip, you can control your reaction to it by reducing interactions with gossipers in the workplace.
- Get busy
If there are deliverables to be met, there will be little or no time for gossip. The gossip always craves attention and audience which if they lack it dies, they are unable to keep up with their gossip trait, you should try to be as productive as you can while at the workplace.
- Try to keep your life private
Some people like sharing personal life experiences with their colleagues. This is always not a good idea as it affects the subjects’ standard of work in the long run, as personal lives spill into their professional life. You should not trust your coworkers with your personal information. The information can be used against you. Setting boundaries is necessary and carefully thinking of the kind of information you want to give away.
- Help end the cycle
Gossiping always brings about negative consequences. Therefore, you should not tolerate gossipers in the workplace. If you know the main culprit of gossiping in the workplace, you should not hesitate to speak up and discourage them from spreading rumors. Encourage or educate on the importance of open communication.
- Take your time and be calm
It is normal to get upset when you notice that your fellow coworkers are gossiping about you. Upon realizing this you might be tempted to go in guns blazing. However, this should not the case. Remember to always be professional at your workplace. Ideally, you should take time and think of a professional way of addressing the rumors. Therefore, you should try to collect yourself to save your job and reputation.
- Let your boss know
If you feel that the gossips are too much in the workplace, you can alert the boss for him or her to take appropriate action. This is because the gossipers might be senior employees who might be difficult to approach. As a result, you should inform your boss about this issue for him to handle it. Management that supports a healthy working environment should be able to address the issues in a way that promotes a positive culture.
- Encourage positive gossip
Negative gossip can be detrimental to the workplace. However, positive gossip can help create a culture where people share positive stories about customers, work, and even culture. For instance, you can encourage a culture where the junior employees communicate with each other about what they feel proud about at the workplace. Here, you can start your morning huddles with positive gossip and then reinforce the cultural values and key behaviors you want through story-telling.
- Turn it around
There might be a lot of negative gossip in the workplace. However, this should not be an avenue for you to spread negative gossip. Ideally, you should deflect the negative gossip with the exact opposite. Here, you can say something refreshing that you perceive is true and fair to all. For instance, you can give a complimentary remark about someone who is being attacked by other coworkers. This will make the gossipers change their perspective and might stop gossiping about that person immediately.
- Do not take gossip too personal
You will realize that gossip is always filled with innuendos, rumors, and even errors. Therefore, you should not take it too personally. Take it with a pinch of salt rather than reacting defensively. Instead, you should focus on the reality of issues and deal with the current issues objectively.
Gossip can be a distraction at the workplace. You should try to avoid it as much as possible. If you find it overwhelming, you can report it to the HR department for stern action to be taken against the gossipers. Also, it makes people waste more time at the expense of becoming productive. Before sharing any information at your workplace ask yourself what is the goal of sharing this information?