Dealing with Gossip in the Workplace

By: Together Abroad 24-08-2015 2:08 PM
Categories: * Ethics ,

Two types of gossip pass through most work places: negative gossip and positive gossip. Both can be a welcomed distraction, but only negative gossip stands to mislead workers off their track to success. Typically defaming and slandering, negative gossip can be anything from instigating an alleged office affair to passing along rumors of a new employee’s inferior skills.

Negative gossip between colleagues acts like a virus: it infects the working relationships between co-workers as well as between boss and employee, and if not properly addressed, can lead to employment terminations and ruined reputations. A breakdown in this social fabric causes coworkers to become enemies, and while shots are thrown over lines of division, productivity and morale continue to decline.

What can employees do to deal with negative gossip in the workplace? The right response is crucial because overreacting or saying the wrong thing may fan the flames, but ignoring some kinds of negative gossip can damage your reputation or even career. There is no one shot solution to deal with negative gossip, so overcoming it may take a multi-dimensional approach. Here are some steps to take to effectively deal with different types of negative gossip in the workplace.

1. Confront the Gossiper: Do this in a private location where others cannot overhear the discussion. Your goal is to focus on the issue and what will happen if the bad behavior continues (such as a written warning in their personnel file, demotion, loss of job, etc.) rather than ridiculing the person. If people who gossip about you believe that doing so brings no negative consequences, they have no incentive to stop gossiping. Conversely, if they know that you're on to what they're doing —and in particular, if you make your feelings known to them — you increase the chances that the gossip about you will stop. Not only will the gossipers get the message, but so will others who might be tempted to join in and gossip about you.

2. Deny Rumors: Gossip that is groundless can be extinguished with a simple denial. By blatantly bringing up the issue amongst coworkers and respectfully dispelling any truth, you take away your colleagues’ purpose in gossiping.

3. Ignore Rumors / Refuse to be Drawn in: If the main source of gossip lacks credibility with colleagues, it is sometimes best to ignore it, because by seeming upset you can mistakenly legitimize a rumor and make it into a bigger deal. Alternatively, you can refuse to respond to comments about a person with more comments about that person. Even better, try to subtly change the subject.

4. Spread positive gossip: Positive gossip can actually be good for companies and employees. This is when managers and employees share positive stories about the company’s products/services or individual employees, which can help employees feel proud of where they work, thus improving morale and helping reduce turnover.

By: Jerry Grimes


CAPTCHA ImageReload captchaPlay captcha

Our Career programs assist you to Get hired

For an expat moving to the Netherlands, getting the right direction is very important. It's important that one knows which steps and direction to take. Linda is an exceptionally talent counselor, her advice has helped me land a job within a week of coming to the Netherlands. I am grateful for her mentoring and look forward to a great working relationship in the future.

Dr. Hrishiraj S | Clinical Research & Affairs Manager

Together Abroad provided expert advice on personal branding including developing a top-notch, market-aware CV, highly tailored job applications, and approach strategies with potential employers in the Netherlands. Furthermore, I found them be highly knowledgeable in key related fields such as recruitment strategy, immigration law, contracts, labor agreements, and (un)employment benefits. I would recommend Together Abroad to anyone who needs professional help with transitioning to a new career.

A. Aboufirass | Structural Engeer

Linda is a big mind. She thinks about things that the rest normally overlook. The insight she has about the dutch job market can only be achieved through years of experience and persistence.

Her business savvy is complemented by her mastery of understanding the client's needs and requirements. For my career I could say, she was the “Mary Poppins”, who guided me through thick and thin and helped me to land a career in the Netherlands

S. Bhattacharjee | FP&A Manager

If you are going to enlist the services of a "Career Coach" look no further. The only person you want in your corner is Linda van Orsouw. As an expat, you absolutely want to work with a highly skilled and knowledgeable professional who knows their way around the Dutch career/employment/job market. Linda assisted me in writing and positioning my CV, helped me organize and prioritize my list of opportunities, coached me through mock interviews and was there when I got offered a senior position only 2 months later. When asked I will only refer to Linda and "Togetherabroad".

Mr. C. Joubert
Lead Workplace Strategy Consultant 


New item