Stop the Chatter
Perez Hilton blogs about it. The Gossip Girls revel in it. Celebrity shows and magazines make a fortune with it. Gossip is everywhere. People even gossip about gossip. We all love to hear the latest dish, but what happens when gossip filters into the workplace and becomes something more than what we read about or watch on TV?
Productive talk such as commenting on the good job someone is doing or showing excitement over the latest company announcement brings a positive vibe to the workplace. But when you engage in idle chit chat, say means things about people, spread rumours or reveal confidential information, you are gossiping and potentially opening yourself up to slander or other litigation.
Gossip runs like wildfire in the workplace. Like the telephone game we all played as kids, people fuel gossip by adding their own interpretation. The result is often destructive for the target of the gossip. An atmosphere of discomfort is created, which leads to a lack of productivity in the office and could even become an human resources issue.
Why do people gossip?
People often gossip to opinion shop. Gossipers want to see where other people stand on an issue, forcing them to take sides. It’s a result of people not being willing to take ownership of their own opinions.
Gossip is often used as a tool to help the perpetrator feel better about themselves. Demoralizing a colleague has an underlying subconscious benefit of soothing the deep insecurities of the gossiper.
Dishing dirt also allows the gossiper to appear in the “know.” This helps them to feel more powerful. It’s all an effort to fulfill what the gossiper lacks deep down inside of themselves: self-esteem, confidence and worth.
While gossiping might help some feel better temporarily, what the gossiper may not realize is that their gossiping makes them look insecure, controlling and vindictive. They lose credibility.
If a gossiper wants to feel better about themselves, the right approach is to praise their colleagues and company.
What to do with gossip
If you’re a victim of gossip, face it head on and approach the sources as quickly as possible to diffuse the situation and achieve resolution. If that doesn’t work, don’t ignore it; stand in your power and take it to your boss.
Employers need to deal with rumours immediately and clear the air. Keep your staff up to speed with company developments before the rumour mill starts turning. Build a team that’s supportive and cooperative of one another. People are less likely to gossip when they like and count on each other.
The gossiper needs to do the deepest work. If you’re guilty of harmful office gossip, look deep into yourself and explore the inner thoughts and beliefs which are driving your need to gossip. Healing those internal conflicts and issues will transform you from office gossiper to office encourager. Only then will you get the true admiration and response you’re looking for.
Esther Bartkiw is a Certified Core Belief Engineering Therapist, Personal and Spiritual Growth and Transformation Leader, Speaker and Writer.