Avoid Gossip in the Office
Edited by Doug Collins
Office politics can either be healthy or downright dirty. The workplace has become a war zone for many offices because of gossiping. Gossiping is said to be a normal human behavior which can even provide functional advantages to an individual or a company. The only way that gossip can be considered a health hazard is when the gossip is targeted towards a certain individual and if it breeds contempt and disrupts working relationships. Do you get bothered by office colleagues who seem to want to spend all their time discussing other people's lives? Are you tired of people making up stories about others? Do you believe that a good workplace is one that is free from gossips and politics? It has been reiterated over and over again that a chain or an organization for that matter is only as good as its weakest link. A team of working individuals can either plummet the company towards incredible heights or pull and shove it to the brink of failure because of unproductive and negative gossiping. Indeed, it is good to foster a more favorable workplace, instead of tolerating habits of gossiping especially during crunch time. Office politics could be a familiar culture that breeds competition and productivity which is relatively healthy however office gossip or grapevine can bring about a negative culture that evades company goals and team building efforts.
Effects of Gossip at the Workplace
- 1It affects team work.Advertisement
- 2It decreases trust among colleagues.They communicate with doubts and this is not healthy for overall collaboration. With this kind of culture, people tend to hide information or even sabotage or steal another person's data in order to get ahead of the pack. You cannot possibly win and move forward in a company wherein people are out to destroy you or are literally and figuratively predicting your failure. The company will never benefit in employees or managers that are not working collaboratively with a common goal in mind. When people are trying to outrun each other in a destructive pace, the whole organization is set to crumble. However possible can anyone achieve success without a network or a team of people to back you up? Trust and confidence among colleagues is crucial for people to work in synergy and for minds and efforts to converge in one productive output.Advertisement
- 3It distracts people from work.
- 4Adds up to psychological stress.
- 5Lowers self-esteem of employees.Some people can deal effectively with negative gossip and perceive it as a challenge and not a roadblock to success. However, more employees are unable to effectively deal with gossiping and backstabbing which results to inefficiency and even inability to meet the demands of day-to-day work. One of the damaging effects of office gossiping is that employees can suffer from a low morale and damaged self-esteem. In fact, the destructive effects of gossiping to an individual can go beyond the office walls as it has been found to affect the overall lifestyle and temperament of an individual.
- 6Breeds unprofessionalism.
- 7Depletes company resources.Lawsuits and employee or managerial inefficiency as well as turnover or liability predicaments can relatively deplete company resources at a certain point. Gossiping is more than a "psychological warfare" or messing up with other people's minds as it can actually bring down an empire to rut because of financial liabilities and damages. The victims of negative gossips can actually file charges in court due to lack of protection against such abusers specifically if one is being singled out because of ethnicity, religion, gender, or any other physical attributes that can constitute certain biases in opinion.
- 8It becomes a hazard to life, limb, and property.Some gossips which are usually targeted on a certain individual or group of people can aggravate to bullying, harassment, or even infliction of physical violence. The safety, health, and well-being of the victim of these malicious gossips are put at stake. Lawsuits can even emerge as this is clearly a human rights violation.
How to Avoid Gossips in the Office
If you believe gossips are nothing but useless distractions in the office, you must follow these rules for your sake and others:
- 1Be more sensitive in your words and actions.Keep in mind that if you have nothing nice to say, it might be best to just keep it to yourself. You can avoid spreading any libelous remarks or rumors by not initiating any conversation about it. Less is definitely more when it comes to office politics. It is better to think before you even say a word about anything that does not concern office tasks or projects. If you value your privacy then you must lead by example and do not intrude in other people's lives.Advertisement
- 2Do not join in discussions about others that are not constructive or positive.
- 3Maintain a boundary between your personal and professional life.
- 4Act professionally at all times.
- 5Keep yourself busy and limit conversations and interactions to only matters that are relevant to your work.If you are busy, more than likely, you will not have time to deal with unimportant matters such as gossip. Idle hands make it highly suitable for gossiping. Choose people who can be your role models or mentors for success. Go with people who talk about theories, facts, and events rather than those who meddle with issues about the private lives of the people around them. Your potential for growth is maximized exponentially when you continue to immerse and expose yourself to productive endeavors.
- 6Avoid comparing yourself to others, whether in a positive or negative light, whether or not you are better than others.When a person is envious of someone else, he or she tends to focus on the negatives to cover up the good things he or she is jealous of. When these are discussed with another envious person, that creates the spark of further gossip. Every individual has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. Nothing is ever achieved with allowing the green-eyed monster to run the show because you only end up a sour loser if you decide to bully or attempt to ruin a co-worker's reputation by resorting to negative gossips.
- 7Encourage positive gossip rather than negative gossip.
- 8Do not worry too much about what other people think of you.
- 9Resolve conflicts and stop negative gossiping right away.Advertisement
Questions and Answers
What should a girl do to stop gossip in the office?
The way this one woman talks about me is causing problems with my coworkers and boss.. I have tried: Telling her to shut up but she did not take it well. I think it was caused by: I am in line for a promotion and she is not so I think she is gossiping about me because she is jealous.
There is nothing bad in people interested in each other and sharing their opinions. However, during conversations, the information may be intentionally distorted. By recounting the stories your coworker may be just entertaining herself watching the reaction of people around her (including you). She may also pursue her own goals with by bruiting about you, and, perhaps, she thinks that she is as good a professional as you.
First, you have to find a way to react to the gossip. You must understand that every person has an independent opinion about you, and he or she may ask you a direct question if he or she is in doubt. Be ready to parry gossips calmly and respectfully if you are being asked directly about them. Gossips cannot be stopped as the process is not a part of your personality: be calm and do not be upset about it, as the woman is probably expecting you to fail at your tasks as your mood is disrupted. This is her way of manipulating you: if you show an emotional response, then the goal will have been achieved. Do not react to the gossips, and they will diminish. Do not try to justify yourself and tell everyone that something is untrue. In practice, focusing on rumors about yourself is showing your weakness, which causes a vicious circle of spreading more negative rumors about you.
Secondly, Boost Your Self Confidence. You do not have to overdo it though. It just has to be more stable. Professional or friendly counselling can help to evaluate and understand yourself too. Ask a professional or your friend or relative about your strongest points and what you should work on. No gossip will make you vulnerable then.
- If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.
Categories : Communications & Education