Are You Adding Fuel to Gossip?

Did you know that I think Susie and Joe from accounting are secretly dating? Or that Nancy from customer service appears to be pregnant? Does this sound familiar?
When you don’t have all the facts and nevertheless share information that you shouldn’t, this is called GOSSIP. And when it affects others, it can be dangerous.

Not all gossipers do it maliciously, but even unintentional “talk” can be hurtful.

Many do it because getting caught up in other people’s drama can make them feel part of a shared story. And it gets even worse when we discover the narrative isn’t real.
So why do we instinctively jump in and stir the gossip pot? Maybe it’s because we are afraid that others will do the same to us behind our back. Or perhaps we feel like we’re a part of the chain of untruths, a secret club. And, we ignore the ripple effect it has on everyone around us, especially the people in the story.

Repercussions of Gossip

While we talked about doing things innocently, the act of gossip can be severe – especially in the office. There can be many adverse outcomes of workplace gossip, and the following are some examples you may have witnessed.
  • Anxiety increases for both sides
  • People take sides, creating divisiveness
  • Damaged reputations
  • Loss of trust among team members
  • Reduced employee morale
  • Less productivity

Before you chime in, insert your own opinion, or share gossip about someone else, ask yourself the following:

  • Is the information factual?
  • Will this be crucial for someone to know (i.e., an employee is embezzling company funds)?
  • Is it helpful for others to know? For instance, a fellow employee recently had a life-changing event such as divorce. If this is confirmed true, it will help to tread lightly and give some grace if that co-worker isn't acting like themself.

    Time and understanding will be appreciated.

For all the above, there are ways to manage the necessary sharing of news, but if you’re unsure, either stay out of it or confirm the TRUTH first.

It’s easy to get pulled into the toxic gossip environment but remember, if they’re whispering about others, they’re likely doing the same about you.
When you steer clear of the rumor mill, you will build a reputation of being someone others can trust, leading to respect.