Gossips do happen in workplaces. It’s important to know why someone gossips and acts on it at the right time before it becomes toxic affecting the workplace.
5 Key Reasons Why Someone Gossips
To get a feeling of superiority
A person who doesn’t feel positive about oneself judges others negatively to feel better.
People who envy another person’s growth, success, popularity, or lifestyle gossip to hurt the person and get a temporary good feeling.
To gain attention
A person craves to be the center of attraction by spreading malicious stories.
To get a sense of connection and intimacy
Gossip seems to be one of the easiest and fastest ways to get connected to another person. The secretive & exclusive nature of revealing something or someone that’s a bit disruptive and judgemental creates a momentary vulnerability and trust between the two parties. But, this doesn’t hold for a long time as its not a meaningful connection.
Out of anger or unhappiness
A person when angry with someone or unhappy because they didn’t get a promotion, disagreed with a decision or change in direction, etc., gossips to get a sense of retribution.
Quick Tip: Try these techniques to stop yourself from gossiping & prevent losing the credibility and respect of your colleagues.
5 Proven Ways To Get Rid Of Gossip
Be a role model
Don’t engage in gossip and be a good role model. If someone gossips with you, be assertive, walk away or just change the topic of the discussion. Be strict about your values and principles and it will send a hard message to the gossiper that you are not interested in this behavior.
Confront & kill the gossip
As a leader, it’s key to shut down gossip asap before it becomes toxic and out of your control whether it’s about you or about others.
- Find out who was involved in the gossip and speak to them immediately after the incident in private. Keep calm and handle the situation politely & professionally.
- Help the person understand why his/her behavior is inappropriate & how it impacts others in the workplace.
- Find out why the person exhibited this behavior and what’s bothering them.
- Help the person come up with an action plan to fix it. If the action is on you as a leader, take it up and fix it.
- Explain the consequences if the behavior continues.
Report the gossip
It’s important to keep your work environment toxic-free for the good of your own and of your colleagues. If you notice an office gossip, report it to your manager or HR whoever is appropriate, and let them handle the situation.
Convert a negative gossip into a positive action
Make it a point to talk about the success of people and inspire others. If people around you notice this behavior, they tend to follow you.
For instance: If someone makes a remark about another colleague like “John is consistently not delivering his project on time”, you could say “He did a good job in responding to system issues and communication. Do you think we can help him achieve success in this too?”
Set the culture
As a leader, educate your team about the negative consequences of gossips. Give them confidence that they can approach you at any point in time.
Create an open and transparent culture. Share the good news and especially bad news along with a plan of action to fix it and if possible, get your team to own it.