What To Do About Workplace Gossip

Workplace gossip is harmful to both organizations and leader's careers. Discover what to do about workplace gossip and how you can be seen as a leader who inspires and uplifts ...

Even though you may not intend it to happen, at some point or another you will find yourself caught up in a gossip session ... both positive and negative!

Are You Part of the Workplace Gossip?

If you're wondering, try this exercise.

For the next 24 hours only talk about someone else if they are present. If by chance another individual comes up and starts conversing with you about another person, you have to take a stand. Say something like; "I'm working on not discussing others unless they're present. So can we talk about something else please?" Granted, you might run out of things to say, but it will give you a clear indication about how much you talk about others and how strong your sense of self worth is.Think of an individual at work that stays away from workplace gossip.

  • Do you think that individual is secure with themselves?
  • Does the individual have good sense of their own self ?
  • Are they successful?
  • Is he/she well liked?
  • Do they seem happy?

Contrast this with a person who is known for their workplace gossip:

  • Do they constantly find fault in others so they look better?
  • Are they well liked and trusted?
  • What's their vibe like - positive or negative?
  • Do they seem they happy?

It's safe to say that most people who are gossip king and queens never really have a healthy inner world and generally they aren't well liked or trusted.

Workplace Gossip Causes Lack of Trust in a Relationship

When it's evident that a certain individual provides all the workplace gossip, people begin to wonder; "What in the world does he/she say about me when I'm not around?" The end result is that the gossiper cannot be trusted.

You will find that every relationship between two people is built around trust, reliability, honor, and integrity. If you're a leader, your credibility will suffer if you are known as a person who indulges in workplace gossip. It is in your (and your organization's) best interest to develop healthy relationships.

Think about this. Have you ever improved someone's performance by gossiping about them?

If you are gossiping to a colleague about another person's performance, you are telling the wrong person. The person you are gossiping to is unlikely to be able to make thing better (or at least any lasting changes). It really is up to you and the person you have the issue with to work through the problem. You letting off steam to all and sundry is a cancer in any organization (be it business, family or social) - because gossip always breeds distrust (whether you are the person being gossiped about or gossiped to).

Here's How To Handle Someone Who Starts A Gossip Session With You

If someone starts gossiping to you about someone who isn't present (or maybe even bagging another team), then instead of getting embroiled in it, ask in a supportive but firm way "Are you telling me this so I can help coach you in how to handle the situation, or do you think we should wait and have this conversation when (the other person) is available for us all to work through the problem?".

The idea here is to be supportive (not punishing), but you are letting people know that you are happy to help them come to some sort of successful outcome, but you are not prepared to just listen to a whine fest.!

Now, there will be occasions when the person will say, "No I just want to vent." If this happens, your best response would be; "Listen, just venting isn't going to serve you, me or the other person in a positive manner. I'm happy to help you problem solve whatever issues you might have, but I don't want to get caught up in venting sessions."

Once you are able to do this consistently, others will understand that they can trust you. The will come to understand that you do not want to talk about anyone unless they are present. This is by far one of the greatest acts of leadership you can do. Oddly enough it is also the most unusual.

Things To Do When You Are Involved In Workplace Gossip


Listen, none of us are perfect and chances are you will end up talking negatively about someone. Don't worry though, you can be forgiven for your humanity. Just remember to be mindful that this is just your version of whatever is happening and is unlikely to be the entire truth - as the other person is sure to have a perspective that is somewhat different to yours. So if you catch yourself needing to vent, make sure you say something like this to the person you are about to dump all your negative energy on: "I know this is unhealthy and I am gossiping, I am stepping out of my integrity but I just need to vent. Will you hear me out and then offer me a different perspective or help me find a way so I can talk to the other person in a constructive way."

However, the all-time best advice ... let the only thing that comes out of your mouth be things that are positive. You will rapidly become known as a person who inspires and can be trusted by all - something a gossiper is never known for.

 


Source: Leadership Articles Dot Net

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