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How to Avoid Gossip and Stay Popular

How to Avoid Gossip and Stay Popular

Nealeigh Mitchell | AdminSecret

Why Don’t People Stop Gossiping?

Why don’t workers recognize their gossip’s harmful effect on office productivity? And if they do, what keeps them from putting a stop to it? Gossiping is a vice because it seems like a victimless crime. You don’t always see the effects of your hurtful words.

Controlling your mouth is even more difficult when your job is on the line. With job security as a number one priority, gossip often becomes fair play if it means getting a leg up on the competition. Here are a few other reasons why cubicles remain breeding grounds for rumors:

Lack of Awareness — One of the biggest reasons gossip is so pervasive in offices is coworkers aren’t aware they are even taking part. Office babble has become such a natural part of the workday that people fail to see the repercussions. If you need an excuse to fill the dead air, talk about your weekend and not who you saw doing what with whom.

Payoff — Gossip is a socialization process that binds people together, even if it’s in a malicious way. Being part of the “in” crowd (sound like high school?) and having some tidbit to add to the powwow gives a sense of inclusion. And if you’re part of the clique, ahem, team, you’re more likely to be picked for projects and promotions. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not what you know or even who you know, but how much you know about others that can give you an edge (at least in the short term).

Rationalization — Corporate cultures are more cutthroat than ever. People are made to feel that gossip is a necessary evil and you must be manipulative to survive. You either use it to your advantage or become a victim.

Fear — Many coworkers engage in gossip either to look good or avoid looking bad. You’re either doing the talking or being talked about. If you unexpectedly withdraw from the conversation, you could be seen as a tattletale or traitor. Is it worth the potentially alienating side effects? Yes.

Good Intentions — Is it gossip if you tell everyone that Janie from accounting is going through a divorce? Were you trying to hurt her reputation or just chewing the fat? Intent doesn’t matter. Once it’s out of your mouth, you have no control over how your listener relays the message. Don’t be the source and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Gossip is not easy to escape. And it’s not all bad. It can help build friendships, build teamwork, and even help new hires get acclimated with the company culture. Plus, some gossip’s worth hearing as long as you resist passing it along. But that’s where it gets tricky.

The best advice is to steer clear of any negative conversations about someone who is out of earshot. That way you won’t feel guilty about participating in the gossip grapevine or attract people who enjoy cutting others down. Instead, foster an environment where people feel comfortable talking out in the open about their ideas and opinions. Then there will be no need for gossip in the first place.

Source: Games at Work, Mauricio Goldstein

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