“Gossip is what no one claims to like, but everybody enjoys.”~ Joseph Conrad
In any workplace, there will always be few gossip-mongers who would indulge in spreading rumors about other co-workers. Sometimes gossips can spread around within the workplace like a wildfire and wreak havoc in employees’ personal lives.
However, social scientists and anthropologists sometimes give mixed opinion about office rumors. While some sociological studies suggest that gossip at the workplace can create a stressful and unpleasant environment, other studies have connected gossip with some advantages.
According to modern anthropologists, gossiping can have a positive impact on our overall emotional health. Although talking about others behind their backs is often seen as something malicious, the very act has the power to tie together social groups and business networks.
Having said that, it has to be accepted; office gossip does have a detrimental effect on employees and the overall workplace environment.
When a victim of office gossip, make sure you take on your stride and try to deal with it. Some of the best ways to deal with office gossip are explained in the paragraphs below:
#1. Don’t take office gossip to heart
Understand that office gossip is simply gossip – false talks. It is filled with innuendos, deliberate, malicious comments and of course rumors. So, take it with a pinch of salt. And do not take it to heart. At the same time, gossip must be dealt firmly, yet wisely.
So, never take these things to heart. Instead, focus on the reality either there must be an underlying reason, or it is simply the nature of the individuals to talk malice about other people. Strictly avoid taking gossips personally and stop being affected by it.
#2. Communicate clearly; don’t target the messenger
The next significant step to address office gossip is to keep communication lines entirely apparently at the workplace. In case you hold a senior position, be open to listening to issues from subordinates also, but at the same know how to divulge information as well.
While no one likes the bearer of bad news, it is better to avoid shunning the messenger who carries the news for you. This might end up aggravating issues for you in future.
#3. Confront the concerned person, but carefully
One of the best ways to deal with office gossip and stop it is to face the person who is responsible for spreading the gossip. This is because, a persistent gossiper, needs to be told that what he or she is doing is affecting the work environment in a negative way. Approach him or her directly, and politely raise the topic. Remember to sound confident.
Also, do not shift focus and reprimand the person—instead deal with the issue that led to such a situation; the person is spreading rumors about you. Offer a solution to the individual and ask if you can be of any help. If possible, ask if he or she is challenging something which he cannot discuss with others – that might be boiling down to him engaging in office gossip.
On a final note, when you see things bloating up too much, report it to the HR.
While office gossip is somewhat a universal truth, it creates a lot of distraction and often crosses the line into harassment. So, just as an employee should take a step, even the HR department of an organization must develop a constructive and positive policy towards dealing with office gossip.