Unfortunately, workplace gossip is a reality. Sometimes it’s fairly benign, but more often than not, it is hurtful to the person who is the subject of the workplace gossip.
A professional colleague told me about a situation that happened to him just recently. He has been quite excited about certain business successes he has achieved. However, he was deeply disappointed to find out that someone whom he considered to be a good friend publicly criticized and disparaged his recent accomplishments. He believes that this gossip is driven by envy and spite. He is, not surprisingly, frustrated and saddened by his so-called friend’s actions.
Dogs don’t bark at parked cars
I was immediately reminded of a phrase I heard from a Bahamian colleague over six years ago — “Dogs don’t bark at parked cars.” I remember clearly when he said this, I turned to him with interest and had to ask him to explain. “You never see a dog chasing a parked car, do you? The only reason you are a target for workplace gossip is because you are making giant strides and going to winning places! If you weren’t climbing to great heights, then there would be no reason for anyone to try and knock you down. Take any malicious workplace gossip as a compliment and as an affirmation of your success.” Those wise words have stuck with me, and I repeated them to my upset colleague.
So what about you? How many times have you been upset or hurt by gossip and back-biting. Perhaps this phrase is what you need to help put things in perspective. I’d love to hear what you think. Please share by adding to the Comments link below.
If you’re looking for some more advice on how to handle workplace gossip, you may find this column I wrote for The Globe and Mail useful: Take the toxins out of office gossip