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Addressing Gossip at The Workplace

Portrait of smiling young african businesswoman with people in background. Cheerful young woman standing relaxed in her office looking at camera and smiling.

We all agree that co-workers talking about you behind your back in the office can weigh anyone down. This not only affects your enthusiasm for work but also your relationships with co-workers. Traditionally, people thought of gossip as an entirely ‘female thing’ but that changed decades ago. Imagine entering the office and everybody starts staring at you…suddenly! Or getting into the boardroom for a briefing and guys, all of a sudden, go quiet! Gossip creates a toxic environment and how one handles it defines one’s future engagements with his/her fellow co-workers.

Here are five ways to handle office gossip like a boss:

1. Identify The Source of Gossip
Knowing what started off the gossip is sure of debasing the level of gossip in the office. If you discussed your salary with a trusted co-workers and they went all over ‘sharing’ the same information to everybody, then you can now gauge the kind of information to reveal to the public and certainly whom to trust in the office. In the event that you finally identify the rumor monger, confronting him/her at the office can cause lots of drama.  Approach the person in the absence of others and/or at a separate location and articulate your concerns appropriately.

2. Give The Rumor a Deaf Ear
Sometimes the gossip may have no deep impact on your job at the moment. Gossip does vary with the strength it may have on your career. Some may be light in nature. As such, it’s ok to let them fade away – they will eventually slowly die down.

3. Keep Your Communication Open
Co-workers sometimes get suspicious when the kind of info you avail to them is not truthful and incomplete. It means you’re hiding something! And suspicion equals gossip. This mostly affects the top management team.

4. Encourage Positive Gossip
How about you fill that boardroom meeting with your last month’s record-high achievements? Highlight your productivity instead of focusing on office politics.

5. Set Limits Between Private And Office Conversations 
When you hang out with your colleagues at a social event, do not discuss personal matters. It is very likely that a co-worker may share that confidential information with other co-workers. Again, at workplace, never bring out information not related to the job you’re doing.

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