Gossip or gup shup! That too in a workplace is totally against professional attitude. Workplace etiquette frowns at trash talking, but it happens anyway. No worries, if you are someone who doesn’t like such trash talk, keep reading this blog to get tips to travel the high road.
How to stop workplace gossip
No one likes a gossip king or queen, but no that, every office has one.
You can do nothing but blame human nature, says career and business etiquette expert Karen Litzinger. She says that people like to gossip. “It could be cathartic. It can also be a bonding experience” to sympathize with a co-worker. As there is a saying, misery loves company.
To mention, office trash talk can have some big problems. Litzinger says that it can damage not only good relationships with the colleagues but also hurt your own reputation.
So, if you’re someone who indulges in gossiping, it’s time to correct yourself and keep your lips sealed. But you also must be mindful of what you say about co-workers over digital channels, like Slack, Gchat, or email.
Gossip doesn’t happen at the water cooler anymore, says Julie Jansen, career coach and author of You Want Me to Work With Who? And in case you don’t know, your employer can read what you’re saying online, even though it is a private message. Jansen says that if you need to get something off your chest, talk to someone outside of your work.
Anyways, you might face some challenges since you can’t control what your co-workers’ say or utter. But there are actions that you can take you can make to handle office gossip well when it reaches to your ears.
1: Offer a solution
When someone bad mouths a co-worker, it’s often out of frustration, but also it could be because the gossiper has a legitimate issue. If that is the case, your best move would be to acknowledge your colleague’s frustration and then help to create a solution.
Let’s take an example when a colleague says you, “I can’t stand Harry. He’s always late and what is that I need to do my work on time.” A good response from you: “That sounds frustrating, but I’m sure Harry isn’t doing it purposely. Did you guys talk about it? This could work things out.”
2: Move away from the premise
Even if you don’t get into to a conversation, you might still feel the guilty by association. Listening to someone else doing gossip also incriminates you to a certain level. That is actually being a bystander in a crime.
Have an exit plan prepared so you can politely excuse yourself from the gossip. Wear a simple. Tell them that you are sorry; you forgot to and need to send an email. Or simply excuse yourself and go to the restroom.
But to mention, this tactic might not be a long-term strategy, but it would help you get away from the scene unnoticed.
3: Change the topic of conversation
This move needs some finesse. Experts suggest steering the conversation toward a safe, innocuous topic, like movies or sports. If in doubt, you can compliment the gossiper, ask to see pictures of their pets, or just talk about their weekend plans.
4: Address the issue
If you are really looking ways to establish yourself as someone who does not have any interest in taking part in office gossip, or if you’re dealing with a habitual gossip; you need to be direct about it. You are little perplexed though. Mainly because you don’t want to upset your co-worker and take a risk of alienating the person.
Jennifer Anderson, a career strategist, suggests that taking an alternate approach by saying something within the lines of, “I’m sorry, it sounds like a tough situation, but I’m not comfortable talking about a co-worker.”
Though it might sound odd, if you make your position clear, those would go away and find someone else to share their list of complaints.
With this, we conclude our discussion about how to avoid trash talk at the office. Also keep looking into this space by career advice for more career opportunities and for career information jobs without experience, as well.