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4 Ways to Deal with Workplace Gossip

4 Ways to Deal with Workplace Gossip

Gossip in the workplace occurs no matter your industry, position, or experience. It can be detrimental to a team, affect your engagement, and make you dread going to work each day. Plus, it is a major waste of time and greatly decreases your productivity. 

What should you do when the rumor mills begin? How should you handle the situation? Here are four ways to help you deal with workplace gossip. 

1. Train Your Employees Or Participate in Training

If you wish to decrease workplace gossip, make others aware of it. If you are a manager, consider training on this particular topic. Coach your employees so they know what to do when gossip is spreading, what to say, and when to approach management. If you are not in a supervisor position, suggest this training to your boss. You may also consider third-party courses as well that can assist. 

2. Stay Busy

Gossip often occurs around the water cooler. It happens when individuals have time on their hands. By staying busy, you can avoid participating in these gossip-filled conversations. People who gossip want someone there to listen and react. By staying busy, you are not only preventing this reaction, but you are getting more done as well. 

3. Make Positive Comments

Once gossip begins, it can continue like a ball rolling down a hill. The rumors can become larger and more damaging the longer it continues and the more individuals that are involved. One of the best ways to put a stop to any type of negative rumor is to make positive comments. These happy and positive comments take away the reactions that the gossipers desire. This encourages them to stop what they are saying. If someone approaches you with a negative comment, find something positive to say or search for an honest way to change the story. 

4. Approach the Individual

If you know who started the rumor or who is spreading it, approach that individual. Address the issue with the individual and ask him or her to stop. If the rumor is serious enough, or the person is difficult to work with, you may want to bring in another individual such as a human resource representative or your manager to help mediate the situation. 

How to Avoid Becoming the Subject of Gossip

There are several things you can do to prevent becoming the subject of gossip in the workplace. A few ideas include: 

  • Keep your personal life private
  • Be mindful of the people you become friends with at the office
  • Be careful of what you do outside of work hours, particularly if you are with co-workers
  • Dress professionally
  • Be cautious of what you post on your social media channels

Dealing with workplace gossip is no easy task. It can hurt your morale and your quality of work. However, by keeping the above items in mind, you will be able to better handle the situation and prevent being the topic of the gossip.