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Stop Office Gossip: How to Deal With Office Gossip

Stop Office Gossip

Got some juicy news or gossip about your colleague’s mistress or information about your boss’ salary?

Keep this personal information to yourself my friend. You are entering the “Gossip Zone.” 

Instead of spreading these luscious morsels of jealousy, bitterness, and personal information at work, learn to be a leader and tame the gossip in you.

Gossip vs. Rumors. Is there a difference between the two?

Gossip is defined as an intimate or sensational fact revealed about a person or situation.  This communication usually focuses on unverified half-truths and the salacious interpersonal lives of its subject.  This sensational rant almost always begins with a topic that never directly affects the people who are discussing it.

A rumor is a testimonial or opinion that may or may not be true.  If management is planning layoffs or your boss is planning to add new responsibilities to the team, this type of speculation falls under the rumor umbrella.  Rumors should be addressed immediately by management. 

Gossip, however, should never be tolerated.

How do you stop the dangerous small talk and live relatively scandal free in the office?

Go cold turkey. Stop participating in harmful water cooler chatting and gossip

Until there is a patch created to wean you off office innuendo, you will have to do it the old fashioned way.  Isolate yourself from people who frequently participate in idle chatter.   Replace the old desire to talk about your peers’ personal business with workplace innovation.

There will always be an abundance of news coming from the office grapevine to delight the faithful listeners; it’s human nature.  Focus your thoughts on new revenue producing ideas that will help your company’s bottom line and give you the raise you know you deserve.

Refrain from immediately converting your coworkers into your new gossip-free lifestyle

You just saved yourself from being sucked into the black hole of communication.  Ready to free the rest of your fellow chit chat compadres from the bondage of negative communication?  Tread lightly.  According to a 2002 survey by Equisys, the average employee spends 65 hours a year gossiping.  This poisonous form of conversation can slowly kill trust and cooperation between co-workers and departments in any organization.  Just because you are the newest convert to a scandal free way of life, does not mean everyone is ready to be saved.

Need to participate in important back room conversations, without the disgraceful banter?

Playing the office political game can be vital to your success at work.  When the town crier comes to your cube with the morning news listen to the message, but refrain from instantaneous participation in the mudslinging.  Use the information to determine who may be a potential new ally or enemy.   Be very careful not to discuss your true feelings with this messenger.   Usually the biggest source of destruction in the office is often the bearer of the spicy news.

Create alliances with your peers based upon teamwork and goodwill

Office gossip is normally used to create a bond among co-workers. Use the following tips to squash the negative talk and strengthen the team.

1. Focus on one person that you can help in your office each week. Do one random act of kindness to help them achieve their personal or performance goals.

2. Once a month give an outward expression of your gratitude. Buy a bouquet of flowers and give one flower to each of your co-workers as you pass their desk.  Flowers are nonfattening and can bring a smile to both men and women.

3. Write a thank you note when your colleague helps you with an important report or lands a big account. Using the standard holidays to show appreciation is expected and encouraged. Showing your workplace rival that you are proud of their success outside of Christmas and their birthday requires bravery and humility.

4. Be sensitive to other cultures, customs and celebrations. If you celebrate Christmas and your peer is Jewish, make an effort to buy a Hanukkah card for your office mate. A little sensitivity goes a long way.

5. Quiet the office grapevine.Clear and constant communication by management can ease any talk of imminent doom created by the staff. Create a weekly 10 minute meeting with your team to discuss issues that may affect morale and productivity and use this time to bond with your subordinates.

Before you feel the urge to participate in the latest zesty tidbit of personal news, think about the long term effects ofoffice gossip. Use the tips above to create a harmonious work environment and replace the poison talk with positive action.

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  1. I was a victim of office gossip. So I know how difficult it is to get past the horrible lies that people say about you in the office. I hope people think twice about how lies and innuendo can affect your reputation and career. Thanks for writing this post.

  2. I was the victim of office gossip. The gossip was all lies. I told my supervisor and board of directors. They hired a private investigator. I contacted a lawyer, I have the right to sue. We are going after the actual perpetrator and now we are going after the persons that were actually involved in the office gossip. My lawyer is suing on the basis of slander. There is a 2 year statute of limitation on slander. My lawyer is going to publicize this lawsuit. He is going to use this case as a teaching tool for some of his constituents. Once publicized in the newspaper these people will not have anywhere to run nor hide. Everything has been kept hush hush so that the private investigator can flush these folks out.

  3. Tammy Kennedy says:

    Hi, your blog is great ,I like it !

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