Do you love chatting with your colleagues at workplace? How often do you talk about others? Do you find gossiping fun? Or have you ever been the victim of it? Whatever it is, chances are high that you have been affected by workplace gossip one way or the other. In fact, gossip is one of the major vices that affect our workplace in the present times, creating barriers between those who work together, decreasing productivity, and spreading negative vibes.
Although some researchers tend to highlight the positive effects of gossiping by emphasizing its role in enhancing communication between workers, the negative effects of gossip far outweigh its positive aspects. Gossip, in plain and simple words, involves spreading lies and half truths, the effects of which can be very detrimental for a person or an organization. Typically, gossip flourishes in an environment where there is a lack of transparency – which may be between the management and the employees, the management and the trade unions, in different levels of management, between supervisor and staff. People who spread gossip are generally insecure of their own positions at work, and aim for success without any concern regarding the welfare of their co-workers. Gossip mongers are usually jealous by nature, and find satisfaction in spreading rumors about those who are becoming more popular and successful in their endeavors and projects.
Locating a tattletale is never a difficult task, and requires just a few days of close observation. The first interaction with a gossip monger is usually pleasant – they seem to be nice people to talk to, sometimes overtly friendly. Soon, however, you will notice that the person is not a team player, who is usually avoided by other employees of the organization. This usually happens because other people have unpleasant past dealings with the person, and are unwilling to engage in any further interaction with him/her. Sometimes, disgruntled workers in an organization form a group of gossipers, who work in tandem to manipulate new members into their conspiracy corner.
Two most prominent characteristics of a chronic gossiper is low self-esteem and lack of trust. Being untrustworthy himself, a gossiper is usually suspicious about the motives and intent of others, and will never trust a person at the first instance. Usually a gossiper looks to play one person against another, and you need to be very careful in sharing your views and opinions with a gossiper, since these can be used against you at a later point of time.
Having said thus, here are a few tips to help you to keep away from gossip at workplace. Never encourage a gossiper in the first place, not even by being a patient listener. However, do not be overtly hostile, as this may direct the ire of the gossiper against you. Deal tactfully, avoid giving responses, and do not let the gossiper influence you at any point of time. Focus on your work, and make it clear that you are strongly committed to your goals within the organization. Cool professionalism will always help you to tide over a crisis in such cases. If you are the victim of a gossip, its always best to sort it out in a clear, transparent manner.
Having said thus, it can only be said that gossip at workplace is nothing but natural. A necessary vice, gossip has prevailed in offices over time and is probably here to stay. Staying away from it is perhaps the best remedy that can ever be suggested.