Merge's Blog

Workplace gossip creates a negative work environment

Spreading gossip is yet another tactic that negative people use to create a toxic workplace.  Keep in mind that negative people usually suffer from low self-esteem, so when the gossiper’s stories tells get strong reactions from others, and even better, begin to “get around”, s/he feels an increasing sense of importance.

At the end of the day though, this is just another approach to gain control and attention within a situation.  There are two different ways to deal effectively with gossip.  The first and easiest: make sure everyone in your department or organization has the information and facts that they need.  When you are open and forthcoming with information, there is little need for people to listen to a gossip.  This is what I call “feed the grapevine”.  If you are providing information to the rumour mill, then you are counteracting the negative gossip.  Sometimes though, you are not always in a position to provide information, but you still have to deal with the gossip.  In such situations, take the second approach: be direct.  Assertively challenge the gossip, or tell the person that you do not wish to participate in a rumour-oriented conversation.  It’s only when you challenge negative people about the gossip they spread that they will stop!

Is negative gossip an issue in your organization?  What are you doing about it? I know that all of us would benefit from different ideas and perspectives, so please share by adding to the Comments link below.

In the past, I’ve talked about other tactics used by negative people to create difficult and poisonous work environments.  Here are the links to previous posts:

Later this week, I’ll discuss one final extreme tactic used by negative people to disrupt team harmony.

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