Holly Hicks, workplacerantings.com
Combatting Gossip in the Workplace
Gossip can be a very wicked thing. Gossip has gotten people fired, destroyed reputations, and ruined careers. Yet it is an easy thing to not only encourage, but fall into doing yourself, while in the workplace. Are there ways where you can combat gossip so that it isn’t such a negative force around you will do your job day in and day out? Of course there are!
1. Don’t Focus on the Negative
It may sound silly, but gossip starts because people are relating to a shared negative feeling they have about someone. Whether it is the new employee that started yesterday or the supervisor, a team can easily be united because of shared negative feelings. This negativity can easily get out of control and change someone’s perception of an event that occurs as well. For example, a simple conversation between a receptionist and a supervisor can be put into the gossip mill as the two individuals having an affair.
Focus on positive things instead of negative things. It may not make you very popular because you don’t have the juiciest news about everyone’s least favorite person, but it will make you feel better about yourself. Positive energy spreads positivity, while negative energy simply destroys. Pretty soon you’ll find that people are either following your lead or excluding you from the circle of gossip, and both of those aren’t bad things.
2. Focus On Yourself
It sounds like a simple thing to do, but it can be very difficult sometimes, right? A coworker confides in you about a problem they are having, or your supervisor needs your advice for a problem they are trying to solve. It is important to simply keep things in their proper perspective and not worry about what everyone else is doing… unless you see someone being completely unsafe, that is. In other words, use your professional discretion as you would want someone else to use theirs while observing you.
Why do this? Because the energy you are spending worrying about someone else is energy you could be spending being more efficient at your job. Staying focused on what you need to do and how you need to do it might not make you a socialite where you work, but it will cut down on the gossip exponentially.
3. Be Proactive About It
Having an open door policy is a wonderful thing. That’s because employees who feel free to speak with each other about personal concerns in a safe environment tend to build lasting relationships that extend past the workplace. When these relationships are present throughout the office, the likelihood of gossip is much less because everyone already is enjoying communication with each other that is enhanced and based on fact.
Gossip, in one way or another, will always be a part of the workplace environment. The key to combatting it is to simply ignore it, not give it life, and not encourage it yourself. If you can manage to do that, then you’ll find that your workplace environment is a much more pleasurable place to be.