6 ways to deal with workplace gossip

6 ways to deal with workplace gossip

Tuesday September 26, 2017,

3 min Read

A small rumour can wreak havoc in your personal and professional life, here six ways to deal with gossip at the workplace.

The coffee machine in any office plays a very important role, not because it quenches your caffeine thirst, but because it is ears to all gossip that takes place in an organisation.

“Hey, did you notice her attitude yesterday?”

“She is always passing rude replies to everyone in her team”.

“He never holds accountability for his work”.

And it goes on.  

Office gossip can be a big distraction. When people meet each other daily, spend time together, work for long hours, they get talking to one another about peers, managers or about the company. While rumours, false stories, or hearsay, are just a way to past time for few, it can negatively affect the lives of many.

Of course, no one is perfect and people need interesting conversations during recess. At some point in your life you would’ve been the gossiper or the subject of a gossip. The information might not always be accurate, but it can damage your reputation. So how do you confront the gossip? Are you able to ignore it? Try these tips to deal with it:

  1. Address the specific gossiper
  2. The first step towards thwarting negative gossip is by reaching out to the main gossipers personally. Do not do this publicly. Do not create a threat, but make them understand the consequences of their actions.
  3. Do not make it humiliating for the gossiper
  4. When you approach the gossiper, try to keep it light. Do not fight gossip with gossip and play a blame game. Be smart and funny; address the gossip indirectly and hear the gossiper’s thoughts on it.
  5. Give it a thought
  6. Gossip is generally the gossiper’s perception about someone. It can be hurtful and may hinder your productivity. Treat gossip like a boon in disguise and try to use it to your advantage. Be careful about how you are being perceived by co-workers; look for any clue during conversations around the water cooler.
  7. Don’t mix your private and professional lives
  8. Sometimes your colleagues may genuinely want to get to know you better. A bond will naturally develop and you may try getting to know each other better. During these friendly conversations, avoid mixing up your private and office life. It is best if your co-workers do not know enough about you as it would hinder your advancement. Also, turn your privacy settings on social media to hide your personal content from work friends. This will save you from gossips.
  9. Keep communication open with your team
  10. Always be open in your communication with managers, boss or employers. Clarity leaves less room for gossip and assumptions. Keep the lines of communication open and that will hopefully avoid gossip about you.
  11. Be confident and strong
  12. Whether you feel it or not, always be confident and strong. Know the reason why are you being the target of gossip. It could because others think you are weak. When in office, your co-workers will notice every little thing about you and will see how you respond to situations. So, be confident about what you do and don't be aggressive.

Final thoughts

Don't take it to heart. Whatever happens in the office, leave it in there. Don’t take gossip to heart. Don’t be defensive and focus on what is real. People will talk and you will have to deal with that. Be professional, mature and trustworthy and everything will work out fine.

This attitude will increase your chances of advancing in your company.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)