We have all been there. You are leaning in to get some water from the cooler when a co-worker comes by with a juicy anecdote about one of your fellow employees or, even better, one of your bosses. Nine times out of ten, you listen, and you pass it along to the next person. That one time you do not because you are feeling morally superior, you feel guilty about even listening to any piece of gossip in the first place, plus all the times you took part in spreading it around. That is the end of the moral superiority.
Hey, I admit it, I have on several occasions been a willing participant in the dissemination of the intriguing information that encapsulates the private life of a fellow employee. Company gossip may seem like a harmless way to pass the time by, especially on days where the company network is down and no work is getting done anyway. However, I have come to realize that gossiping about your co-workers, whether executive, associate, assistant, page, or intern, old or new, experienced or inexperienced, is a bad idea.
I can remember an instance where a nasty rumor got spread about a guy I worked with, not closely, but we had talked occasionally at lunch, and, wanting to fit in, I jumped right along. However, the rumor turned out to be completely false and it led to hurt feelings and a lot of people giving him apologies, including me.
Gossip may seem harmless, but I believe it can destroy trust and end the cohesiveness between employees, especially if it is a smaller company.
Here are three ways to counteract act it:
Go to the person directly and ask them if the story is true. It may seem like you are tattling on everyone else, but wouldn’t you like to know if you are being gossiped about?
Bring up something nice to say about the person who is being targeted. Defend the employee who is not there to defend themselves, especially if the story has no proof.
When someone starts gossiping, just walk away. You do not have to be rude or make a scene, just calmly move back to your workplace. The less you hear, the better.
I hope this article provides good information on how to handle gossip and what to do if it should come your way. It is better to avoid mistrust and hurt feelings in the workplace where everyone should be made to feel like they are a part.