Staying in groups during lunchbreak or talking to your favorite buddy are expected behaviors that we often do to cope with the monotonous routine at work. Some people also chitchat when they are stressed or feeling tensed in accomplishing a deadline. However, some harmless conversations may take a different turn until they became gossip.
When does chitchat become gossip?
Gossiping happens when chitchatting among two or more people involves sharing negative, inflammatory, and embarrassing information about others. Try to reflect whether the convo rejoices the misfortune of a co-worker’s shaky marriage. Is the exchange meant to perpetuate conflict? Did anybody in the group intentionally hurt or damage the reputation of a person? Are you discussing unsubstantiated rumors? If you say yes to these conditions, then most probably, you are gossiping.
How To Address Gossip At Work
Gossiping lowers the morale of the subject of the conversation and its perpetrators for showing baseless manners. Constant gossiping may cause rifts, further affecting the overall productivity in the office. At all costs, gossiping must end. Here are some ways to end this culture and finally get your team to interact healthily with each other again.
Be strict in imposing zero-tolerance policies on workplace gossip.
Everybody at work must religiously respect each other and not disclose sensitive information to other co-workers. The management should be the forerunner in implementing this rule, and thus managers, should not disclose confidential information about an employee. Anybody who violates this rule should face sanctions, disciplinary actions, or even termination.
Set a good example to your members.
If you are a manager, being a good role model for others should be your first goal in the office environment. Don’t tolerate gossip. Be firm and don’t hesitate to walk away in the early signs of its occurrence. Through your actions, you are communicating your firm intention to end this culture at work.
Don’t be scared to relay the gossip to your boss.
Part of being assertive is not to hesitate to report any gossiping incidents to your immediate boss. You need to tell it immediately and not wait for the issue to grow and gain followers. You may lose some friends in doing this, but as a staunch supporter of this change, you must stick to your principle and help the management discipline its perpetrators.
Confront the perpetrators heads-on.
Developing the courage to face rumormongers and address them directly may take some time. However, standing up on your ground and addressing them will warn that they are doing something wrong. Try to approach them in a neutral tone and initiate the conversation in a private room away from other workers. If you are the manager, you may enlighten them about the possible consequences of starting the rumors. You have to state these possibilities matter-of-factly, saying how gossip can escalate and become grounds to slander.
If you are the manager, you may want to initiate direct exchanges between the perpetrators and the victim. When the conflict gets worse, some of them may hire lawyers of their own. Many defamation lawyers can help you if things get worse. But before something like this happens, make sure to settle the conflict in your office.
Promote positive gossip in your team.
Try to turn around negative gossip into a more positive one. As a manager, you must be conscious and watchful of the stories circulating in the office and reinforce positive stories each day. Why not set discussions when everybody can have the chance to express something positive about themselves! Also, consider rewarding employees who will say a good thing or two about their customers. Employees who have been productive and creative at work must also receive awards.
Gossiping may be hard to eliminate, mostly if it has many are practicing it for several years. However, there is nothing more admirable than mustering the courage to stand up for what is right and creating a more positive office environment. Remember, one toxic person can influence others who are diligently doing their work and ruin the overall productivity and office atmosphere.
Be assertive in dealing with gossip. In proving an incident to your immediate boss, supplement your stories with facts, documents, and first-hand accounts from witnesses. Be prepared for further questioning once you brought up an issue to your boss. However, always remember that the fight is worth it. And, you are doing the right thing not for yourself, for the victim, and the overall workforce. Also, encourage workers to keep their privacy to avoid grounds for gossiping.