A blog about reputation, marketing and employee morale.

Just Say No to Gossip

Posted by Janet Smith on February 26, 2009

I hate gossip and believe it’s extremely damaging in the workplace. I’m quoted on this topic in the Entry Level Careers column published today at examiner.com.

I always advise employees to refrain from gossiping-and those in management absolutely must not gossip.  It’s harmful to all involved-and the harm may be to your reputation. Remember that your colleagues who love to gossip about others will also love gossiping about you. Gossipers are insecure with themselves, and talking about others makes them feel more important and powerful. They will often reel you in with behavior that makes you feel like you’re a special friend and confidante-but typically, folks like this will spread rumors about everyone and anyone.

So make up your mind that you won’t provide fodder for the rumor mill.  Always dress, speak, write, and behave appropriately and professionally at work. Don’t share stories about your weekend escapades, fights with your significant other, or financial problems. Don’t tell or be a party to off-color jokes. Be a class act. Treat everyone, from the CEO to the custodian, with respect.

I’ve read about some businesses that have a ban on gossip and impose consequences on employees who talk behind the backs of co-workers, customers, or others. Sounds like a good idea to me, but some leaders may be reluctant to establish a policy like that. Every person in management should set an example in this regard, though, and make it clear that you’re not interested in being a part of conversations that involve gossip, backstabbing, or spreading rumors. If you consistently demonstrate that you don’t participate in office gossip, the gossipers will eventually stop including you in those conversations.

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