Executive Coaching Articles

Gossip in the Workplace

I contacted Joel to help increase my confidence and visibility. He helped me identify barriers that kept me in the background and we developed a plan to overcome them. I now speak up more at meetings, work on high profile projects and have just completed an article for publication.

Cecilia Willer, Partner Business Manager,Hewlett-Packard

You may not have a water cooler or a coffee room, but if you’re in a workplace with more than two people, you’ve got gossip!

There’s really no positive outcome to gossip in the workplace. It’s a huge time waster, it ruins morale, and it can spread faster than a bad cold. If you perceive that gossip is a problem in your office, what should you do? You may not be able to change the corporate culture overnight, but you can change your own way of relating to it with these ten positive steps.

  1. Review your company policy if any exists, for the guidelines on ethics-related matters.
  2. Observe Before launching yourself into office politics, observe. See how people relate and learn the unofficial roles certain individuals in your workplace have adopted. If you notice one person who consistently makes trouble, take the necessary actions to have as little interaction with that person as possible.
  3. Be busy Gossipmongers want attention. If you’re delving into your work, you can’t be available to appreciate their latest tales.
  4. Don’t participate If there is gossip at your place of work, let it stop with you. If someone passes a “juicy story” on to you, don’t pass it any further. Take personal responsibility to act with integrity.
  5. Turn it around by saying something positive. It isn’t nearly as much fun to spread negative news if it’s spoiled by a complimentary phrase about the person being attacked.
  6. Keep your private life private Don’t trust personal information with coworkers. Remember, if they are gossiping about others, they will gossip about you, too. Don’t give them ammunition.
  7. Choose your friends wisely at work You spend a good deal of time at work so it’s natural for friendships to develop. Share information sparingly until you are sure that you have built up a level of trust.
  8. Behave appropriately at work Remember that work is not the place to share all types of information.
  9. Be direct You know you are morally correct by not gossiping. So does the one spreading the gossip. If you confront that person and confidently tell him or her that such behavior is making it uncomfortable for you and other coworkers, it’s likely to stop.
  10. Don’t be afraid to go to a superior Gossiping wastes a lot of company time and hurts morale. A company interested in a healthy work environment will value the opportunity to correct this type of situation.

Want more help and support in dealing with problem co-workers? Contact Joel and find out how he can help you to develop fulfilling relationships with your co-workers.

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