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Handling Gossips

Tags:  Reputation, Co-Workers, Gossips

Remember in the movie Rush Hour when Jackie Chan is singing and dancing with Chris Tucker to the song War? The lyric goes, ""what is it good for?"" And the response is, ""Absolutely nothing.""


Well, gossip could fit right in there, too. Gossip is defined as ""idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others."" And it is absolutely not good for anything other than creating problems.


Rumors, gossip, idle chitchat, scandalous untruths, or whatever else you want to call it is a destructive force in the workplace. It can lower morale, especially of those who are caught in the cross hairs of a gossiping coworker, and it can reduce productivity, as employees waste time speculating and sharing unsubstantiated information, especially about changes to the organization.


But it is not only up to employers to put the lid on rumors and gossip, it is also up to employees to do what they can to eliminate gossip mongers from spreading unconfirmed information. If you want to help put an end to workplace gossip, following these Guideposts:


1. Ask questions to clarify the situation and intention


Hearing titillating stories or being privy to details about a situation can make a person feel special and like they're in the know. However, retelling what you've been told or talking about a topic when you don't have all the facts can be harmful to you, your career and the other person involved.


Before you start believing everything you hear or joining in on the gossip train, make sure to clarify the facts. Ask the other person where they heard the information, why they think it's true or if there might be another way to look at the situation.


2. Confirm the facts and provide reassurance


It's fairly easy to jump to conclusions or make assumptions when you don't have all the facts, especially if the information you do have can have a potentially negative impact on you somewhere down the road.


Rather than adding fuel to fire, make sure you confirm what you know is true and then consider other possible outcomes. Looking at a situation from more than one angle enables you to see other sides of the story and helps you to keep an open mind about other possibilities.


3. If possible, gain agreement for next time


The only way to build a culture of open communication and mutual respect is to have policies that support these values and behaviors. Employers and employees have to be on the same page when it comes to dealing with gossip and rumors.


By being proactive you can help build a work environment where others will feel comfortable and included. Working together as a team, you can make sure everyone is treated with respect.


Gossip helps no one. In fact, quite the opposite is true. It creates an environment of distrust and low productivity. By managing rumor and gossip you can improve the work environment and your chances for career advancement.

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