How to Stop Workplace Gossip
To some people, workplace gossip can an integral part in advancing their career and be liked by their colleagues when they stay in the know.
But on the larger side of things, it is nothing more than a catastrophic pitfall that is known to destroy employee morale and derail not just internal relationships but also your career in the process.
If you need us to be specific on the matter as to what workplace gossip eventually results in, just look at these potential consequences:
- False information
- Rumors or hearsays
- Belittling, ridicule, and humiliation
- Unable to disprove false information
- Not being able to stop the spreading of false information
- Personal and confidential information leaking out
Some workers usually gossip for the fun of it or only because they feel insecure about others in the office or workplace.
Most of these gossipers do it for the sake of attracting attention.
Those who are persistent and have been doing this for a long time must be stopped before they end up ruining a person’s life as well as a clean company’s reputation.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of those people who has been the victim of such acts and wishes to put an end to it once and for all.
Luckily for you, this article has just the solution that can save both your professional and personal life from being shattered all at once.
1. DON’T PAY ANY HEED
Sometimes, the best way to evade gossip is to just walk away.
Do not display any signs to the gossipers that you’re interested because that is where the trauma and paranoia get a hold of you and creates an unstoppable snowball effect that could be the end of you, your colleagues and the company itself.
If you see anyone who’d be willing to pass on any kind of story to you, pay them no heed at all.
Honor your integrity and just back away.
2. CHANGE THE SUBJECT
Another great tactic you can use to avoid gossip is to try to change the subject of the conversation.
So if you feel the gossipers want to approach you, just throw a harmless random question out to them, such as “How was your weekend? Mine was awesome.”
Because you asked the question, you’re in control of the conversation and the people around you will have to answer.
And if they don’t they will feel bad for not answering at all and might come off offending you.
So now, the next time someone wishes to gossip with you, just change the subject.
3. TRY TO CALM YOURSELF IF YOU’RE UPSET
If your toxic co-workers are already spreading the false rumors about you already, you may get riled up in the process.
Normally, you’d want to shut them off right at that point and go full guns blazing but remember, your within the boundaries of your workplace and whether you like it or not, you have to play it safe and wear your professional face.
Yes, it’s not easy to keep a straight face or bottle up all of your frustrations, but you may end up getting the short end of the stick if you drag your feet into this mess.
Therefore, go out and get some fresh air or take five doing something that eases your mind. If you’re very upset, then tell your supervisor that you’re taking an early off to collect yourself.
4. STAY TRUE TO YOUR GOALS AND PRIORITIES
It is within the nature of humans to want more in life, especially if they wish to move up in their workplace.
But gossiping about your co-workers will only make you come off as petty and unprofessional.
As a matter of fact, gossiping is the exact opposite of what will get you to your goals and ambitions. So it’s best to remind yourself to be a better person and keep away from such worthless banter.
When you show that you’re busy or just have a lot of work to do, it will convince other gossipers that you don’t have time to join their “fun.”
That’s because harmful rumors are usually carried out in free or off-times, or when your mind is searching for something you want to do.
That’s when the need for gossiping starts. But you must resist the urge of getting involved with such things.
So keep reminding yourself of the goals that you have set out to accomplish.
For this, you can use a Post-It note to write down your priorities so you never lose sight of your endgames.
5. DON’T SHARE ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR PRIVATE LIFE
The likelihood of gossiping in the era is there and with that in mind, it’s best to keep all of the sensitive or private details about your life to yourself.
Only share such confidential emails with your family and close friends or anyone whom you trust won’t try to use your most embarrassing or shameful details out in the open against you.
So keep your distance and avoid trying to let any of your personals leak out to untrustworthy co-workers who may use it for their potential blackmailing schemes.
At best, you should keep your guard up for sometime until you have built enough trust with those whom you think are worthy to open up to.
6. OFFER SOLUTIONS INSTEAD OF CREATING MORE PROBLEMS
Fighting fire with fire, or in this case, gossiping about a gossiper is only going to intensify an already aggravated situation.
However, sometimes when a co-worker talks negatively about their colleagues, it’s mostly out of frustration, but there may be a legitimate reason behind it.
And if that is the case, then it would be a better move to acknowledge their frustration so that you can offer a solution.
Take the example of a colleague named John who thinks Michael is always late at picking him up, which is why he can’t submit his work on time.
So you should tell John that perhaps Michael has kids that he drops to school or something else that he needs to take care of before coming to work.
Either way, you advise John to talk it out with Michael if he hasn’t done that already to get to the root of their problems.
7. CONFRONT THE GOSSIPER
If the one gossiping about you or anyone else doesn’t believe that there are any consequences to their actions, they may never stop.
On the other hand, if you go up to them and let them know that their actions may end up hurting your feelings or the feelings of those they’re gossiping about, then it could get them to realize their mistakes and get them to stop.
This will prevent not only the gossipers from continuing their heinous acts, but also prevent others who were thinking about joining in to gang up on you.
Here are a couple of other ways to confront the gossipers.
- Ask them directly about why they’re relaying information that you think is gossip. By forcing them to explain why they do what they do, it will make them realize that you’re on to them.
- Let the gossiper know that the information is going back to the targeted party so that it forces them to cease their acts and apologize.
- Ask the gossiper to address their grievances and let them know that you’re open to understanding but also firm in your responses. It could be that they’re upset they missed out on a promotion or training opportunity. Perhaps they’re upset that the target of the gossip got the special work deal or hours and not them. If they continue to open up like this, you may be able to devise a solution together with them.
- Be real with them. If the gossiper sees that you’re trying to approach them about their unruly behavior, but do not want to stop, just let them know right away that the gossiping has to end. The direct approach is what usually works as now they are aware that you could get them into trouble if they persisted. Or they may choose to continue when the smoke clears. And if that happens, ensure that your supervisor or boss know about this so that when the time comes, the offender will be relieved of their duties.
8. MAKE YOURSELF AN EXAMPLE
By far the best approach to dealing with gossiping at workplaces is to not get involved in them whatsoever.
And if you are one of the leaders or managers over there who wish to eliminate gossiping, you can start with yourself.
Look yourself in the mirror and just ask if you’re someone who likes to gossip, if even a little.
Contemplating whether you gossip about your boss and colleagues, or about company policies will determine whether your character is the type that can be a role model for other people at your workplace.
By setting an example and tone over there, people will immediately notice and start following you.
9. CONFRONT THE ISSUE NOT THE PERSON
It’s easier to confront the person doing the gossiping, but you’ll come off more as a professional if you set your sights on the issue and behavior instead of the person behind them.
For instance, instead of going over to the gossiper saying, “you’re a bad person and gossiping about,” you should say, “I am concerned about the gossiping that you do and the want it to stop.”
You’ll save face and in return, inspire others around you for making a bold and mature stance on the situation instead of a childish one.
10. INSPIRE A POSITIVE GOSSIP
If workplaces have to gossip about something, it should only be about their work and how they can motivate one another to reach their goals.
That’s the kind of mentality that could truly make you a great leader as well as a caring human being. It might be a chore to get done, but it is actually something that many companies strive to accomplish.
A good example of this is when an employee is able to positively cater to the customers’ needs and exceed their expectations at that.
Later, the management would be sharing that story within the company, as well as social media to increase employee morale or teach brand values.
This requires a lot of effort and sometimes, people in general may not even buy into your idea right away. If you force them, then you will lose the true purpose of your goal.
Just play your part and let the positive professional energy within reach out to them.
11. DON’T TAKE WORK GOSSIP AT HEART
Work gossip, at the end of the day, is just that – gossip. It has nothing but errors, innuendos, rumors and malicious nonsense.
Since it isn’t real, take it with a pinch of salt rather than taking it to heart.
We understand that gossip has to be put a stop to, but it won’t help your cause as either a colleague or a team leader if you let it get to you.
What you’d want to do instead is focus on the underlying reason or perhaps a series of reasons that could be causing the gossip so that you can work out ways to deal with it objectively as a task instead of a personal attack that can only be resolved by an emotional or angry manner.
12. FORTIFY YOURSELF WITH FACTS
Before you go jumping and believing everything that comes out of a gossiper’s mouth, just take a step back and ask yourself with a come mind: “Is there are truth the heinous rumors?”
It would help your cause even more if you had tangible evidence to fire back at the abysmal gossiping instead of responding with your emotions.
This is especially helpful during change management gossip where a series of crazy ideas begin to surface and spread like a wild forest fire.
Arm yourself with as many facts as you can by going directly to those people who can give you definitive and accurate answers.
What’s more is that you should acquire additional facts from dependable and credible sources including official publications, internal bulletins and meeting minutes.
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