Anyone who has ever held an office job can attest to the truth of the statement “high school never ends.” But rumors started in the workplace are usually far more than dangerous than study hall gossip.
While you’ll never be able to quash all gossip, there are certain steps that help minimize it.
1. Lead by example. We assume you’re not spreading juicy tidbits about your co-workers like a reporter from TMZ. But it’s human nature to gossip from time to time. To avoid taking this too far, when it comes to info about your co-workers ask yourself, “Will the information benefit you or company in any way?” If the answer is no, then it’s probably not worth passing along.
2. Do your part. If the office gossip tries to rope you in with a details about Sarah’s drinking problem or Byron’s sordid affair, try one of these tactics:
- Immediately change the subject
- Leave/walk away, or
- Say, “I haven’t heard that about Sarah’s drinking problem. Let’s go talk to her about it.” (This one is particularly effective in curbing false info from spreading.)
3. Protect your reputation. When you hear someone is spreading rumors about you, try:
- The direct route. If you know who’s been talking and what they’ve been saying, a confrontation may be necessarily. Something to the effect of: “I heard that you’ve been saying [insert rumor here] about me. In the future, I’d appreciate you coming to me directly with any questions or comments — instead of talking to everyone else in the office,” or
- The indirect route. If you’re not comfortable with the above approach, trying saying something like this to co-workers: “I don’t know if you heard, but there’s been false information going around about me. If you hear anyone talking about me, I’d really appreciate if you ask them to stop.”