We all love a good chat about the weekend and what we have been up to in our teams, and often have a laugh about the little slip ups that happen in any workplace. It’s important to recognise the difference between general chat and banter compared to gossip. It may seem like harmless chatter, but it can have damaging effects both personally and professionally not only to the people being gossiped about but also to the messenger.
Monkey see, monkey do – If you’re a leader or a manager and you part take in gossip about your competitors or wider team then you are 100% giving your team the green light, that this type of behavior is acceptable. This can have very damaging effects on the business culture and can take 6 or more months to repair and turn around after a quick gossiping comment.
Busy – If you’re busy working and engrossed in your day to day task you’ll generally find that people want to share gossip will steer clear of interrupting you. Instead they will look for someone disengaged or with free time on their hands that is readily available for a chat.
Step away – The best course of action is to not get involved, remove yourself from the conversations and don’t repeat them. If there is severity to what you are being told, take the matter to HR or a direct manager that you can confide in, to have the rumor or gossip put to bed.
Internal policy – Refer to your internal policy/code of conduct for handling gossip. You may find that such activity or the content of what is being discussed, or the method in which its’ communicated could be in breach of this policy, which in turn could end in a warning or formal meeting.