When the majority of your waking hours are spent at your office or workplace, a pleasant and positive enviornment is a high priority. Work-related gossip and interpersonal drama can quickly add stress to a day already filled with duties and deadlines. The simple suggestions below will help prevent gossip from seeking out your company and ensure a drama-free day.
Establish a reputation for not gossiping; this will help keep those who do at bay. When you publically refuse to engage in gossip, interest in your participation evaporates fast. Additionally, others will tend to like and trust you more, and those who gossip won’t be as inclined to target you.
Fight fire with kindness by countering negative gossip with an exact opposite statement. Saying something positive, true and complimentary about the person being attacked will usually force gossip to a halt, especially if it’s a well-known fact. For example, “Mary does come in a little late most days, but to be fair her kids are young and her work is top notch.”
Be assertive about productivity by making it known that you don’t have free time on your hands for gossiping. Politely stating something like, “I need to keep my head in the game on XYZ project, so I can’t get distracted with rumors,” can deflect drama in the moment and help preempt further attempts to draw you in.
Walking away rather than speaking out is another acceptable way to deal with gossip, especially in a group setting. Simply excuse yourself from the conversation for a trip to the restroom or to prepare for a work-related meeting, call or deadline.
Encourage better communication between parties by redirecting the complainer to work out the problem. If it’s a personal matter, for example, you can say something like, “It sounds like you haven’t discussed this with John directly. He would probably appreciate the chance to talk it over with you.”
Let your supervisor know if gossip is gaining followers or momentum. Most management teams appreciate and support employees who demonstrate a desire for a positive work environment.
Dealing with gossip doesn’t have to be a challenging workplace issue if you keep these tips in mind.