With a small office, open cubicles and chatty co-workers, inner-office gossip is bound to happen. It can be a fun distraction during a stressful work day to exchange stories churning in the rumor mill. But this bad habit could end you in hot water. When gossip comes up in conversation at the office, be mindful of these few points to avoid getting caught up in workplace gossip.
Be aware. Gossip is defined as “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.” But gossip isn’t always that obvious. To help you determine if you’re participating in harmful rumor spreading, consider how you would feel if the person you were discussing heard your conversation.
Have a strategy. Create and commit to a strategy for steering the conversation away from rumors. Try to subtly change the direction of the discussion by asking your co-worker how their weekend was or what big project they’re working on.
Stay positive. Gossip is almost always negative which creates a toxic work environment. When comments come up, it’s important to stay positive. By countering the gossip with something productive, you diffuse the negativity and stay out of the drama.
Stay focused. It can be disruptive to your workday and even affect your performance. Try not to get sidetracked by gossip; it won’t serve your overall path to success. It may seem like a harmless rumor but by participating in hurtful gossip, you could be risking your job and even career.
Don’t perpetuate rumors. Spreading the gossip that you’ve heard is just as bad as starting it in the first place. Rumors can only end when those they are shared with refrain from repeating them.
At the end of the day, gossiping at work just appears unprofessional and immature. Staying out of inner-office chatter will benefit you by increasing your credibility and trustworthiness while helping you avoid harmful drama.