Office Gossip

We all love to talk, especially about each other.  But, gossip in the workplace can be damaging.  Life Success Coach Karen LaVoie, tells us how to identify and deal with office gossips.

Gossip…it is what it is. Talking is what people do.…that includes talking about other people. In the work place, chatting about co-workers has been around since the time of jobs. Face it, you spend 40 hours a week at least with the same people, it is human nature to talk and share and exchange stories with your colleagues once in a while.

Conversation is healthy and leads to good relationships and team morale most of the time. There are those times when the conversation turns to gossip and rumors which is poison to the office environment causing conflict and low morale.

I am going to share with you the signs of office gossip and tips on how to deal with them when encountered.

The Parrot

You share in confidence with a co-worker that you are concerned lay-offs are coming. And what happens? You hear this conversation later in the day spreading around the office like the game of telephone. The parrot repeats over and over again what you said in confidence to other co-workers. Is this person mean or malicious? Most likely not --they want to feel important or "in the know".

Smart advice: Keep all your conversations factual, focused on business and task within the company and keep speculation out. Anything personal should be wisely weighed before sharing it in the work place, especially to the parrot person.

Keep all your conversations factual, focused on business and task within the company and keep speculation out. Anything personal should be wisely weighed before sharing it in the work place, especially to the parrot person.

The "Chatty Cathy"

This is the person that just talks to hear their brains rattle. They talk any chance they get and force you to listen even at times when you are extremely busy. They talk about anyone –colleagues, family, strangers, TV characters…you name it, they talk about it. They are the shadow that goes where ever you go ALL DAY LONG….gossip, gossip, gossip.

Smart advice: Nip that person’s BEHAVIOR in the bud. Firmly state you are busy and or do not care to hear what she is gossiping about. When you have work related conversations, stay on task and politely excuse yourself when you are finished by saying, "I have worked to do".

Nip that person’s BEHAVIOR in the bud. Firmly state you are busy and or do not care to hear what she is gossiping about. When you have work related conversations, stay on task and politely excuse yourself when you are finished by saying, "I have worked to do".

The Two-faced

This person might not be easy to spot until you get burned. They are friendly and likable and agreeable…nothing wrong with that…until they go to the other side, perhaps the boss and repeat what you said. Why this behavior? This person wants attention, wants to undermine you or get even in some way for past events. This person’s actions are intentional.

Smart advice: Never gossip or at least beware of the two-faced people at your job. Share with others only information you are willing to let the rest of the company in on. When confidential information is necessary to be shared, know this is not the person to share it with. Make sure you are not an easy target.

Never gossip or at least beware of the two-faced people at your job. Share with others only information you are willing to let the rest of the company in on. When confidential information is necessary to be shared, know this is not the person to share it with. Make sure you are not an easy target.

The Sleuth

This individual is always digging for more information than what is available. Example: A promotion is going to be awarded and the company president releases a memo stating the promotion is within the HR department. The sleuth is the one asking everyone what they have heard and what they think…creating rumors –gossip as to who will be promoted and why and who will not and why.

Smart Advise. Have no opinion and get back to your job. No matter what you say, it will be twisted. Once you say anything you will be pulled into the sleuth’s web of gossip and speculation.

Have no opinion and get back to your job. No matter what you say, it will be twisted. Once you say anything you will be pulled into the sleuth’s web of gossip and speculation.

The Fault Finder

This is the individual that whines about their unhappiness in their job or life --then about others in the office and how they make their life miserable. Sure people have frustrated moments at the job and can share with a trust co-worker. The fault finder complains to anyone that appears to be listening. This person is always on the hunt for their next target…they eventually get around to everyone in the office.

Note the fault finder is also seeking out other fault finders for their gossip game. This creates a toxic environment in the office.

Smart Advise: Don’t go there with them. Do not agree you have had problems with the person in accounting too. You will feed the fire. Instead, say something nice about the person in accounting and this will most likely defuse the fault finder.

Food for thought: How would you like for colleagues to respond to gossip about you? By setting the example of rising above the gossip and rumor mill at work you are being trustworthy, dependable and professional. And most likely respect yourself and that is something to talk about.

Check out Karen's upcoming event

Opening Yourself Up to Success and Joy

Saturday – September 20

9am – 12:30 pm

 For Information: 503-312-0913 / Website

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