Gossip is seen by many as part of life and certainly as a part of most workplaces. Gossip can sometimes be harmless but more often than not, gossip has repercussions for the gossiper and the subject of the gossip.
It is amazing how an off-the-cuff remark can have us thinking about someone in a completely different way. We’ve all found ourselves thinking differently about a person due to gossip – whether we know if the gossip was true or not! We also know how hurtful gossip can be when aimed at us.
Do you find yourself wishing you could get away from others gossiping around you? Or do you find yourself being drawn into gossip at work and wishing you could stop? Some questions to ask about gossip:
Is It Useful?
Sometimes a little gossip does have a place in the workplace. Talking to peers about pay rises or some good news that someone has heard can be genuinely informative and positive. Think about what you are about to say or listen to and weigh it up to see if there is a purpose. I once worked in a place where the manager tried to tell people details about their contracts were confidential so that she could pay different rates for the same job. There was no reason for this to be confidential and by comparing notes the team were much more empowered to do something about the unfair treatment.
If you find others trying to draw you into a conversation, get a sense of whether something useful will emerge from this conversation or whether it is talk for the sake of it or to spread negativity.
Think About The Repercussions
It can be easy to think that what we say or listen to doesn’t have an impact, but it does. Gossip can easily lead to bullying which is unpleasant for everyone involved. If you are gossiping about others or listening to gossip, it may seem harmless but a good test is to check whether you would like others to talk about you in this way. This is a good measure especially if you feel you are justified or have a difficult relationship with the person you are talking or listening about.
Avoid Other Gossipers
Spending less time with people who gossip will make it easier to break the habit. If gossiping happens in the canteen, maybe find a new place to have lunch. Removing yourself from gossip will help stop the temptation to join in and also decrease your exposure to negativity.
Spending more time listening than talking helps us to pick up on unhelpful conversations or references early on and steer ourselves or the conversation in another direction. This can be a good practice to take on if you find yourself being drawn into gossip regularly.
Take A Stand
Sometimes we need to let others know we don’t want to talk about or listen to gossip. Taking a stand and letting colleagues know that we don’t want to engage in gossip can be challenging but ultimately it brings with it self respect and the respect of those around you. Being known as someone who doesn’t gossip makes you more trustworthy to be around. We can make a real difference to the atmosphere of our workplace by nipping gossip in the bud.
Are you interested in taking the workplace gossip profile?