“Office Gossip” – What You Heard at the Watercooler May be Bringing Your Team Down
If you work with a team in any kind of office scenario, chances are you are no stranger to gossip. At first it may seem harmless – even fun, to engage in a story or two about a co-worker’s actions in or outside of the workplace, but take caution: light chitchat can turn ugly for you (and everyone else involved) real quick.
How to identify gossip and what it does to your team:
If any commentary or conversation seems to be slanderous, risqué or at the expense of others without their prior knowledge, you can bet it’s gossip.
Although sometimes gossip is the result of disgruntled workers blowing off steam, it truly has potential for damage within the workplace. Conversations like these can result in a decrease of productivity, morale and overall respect for one’s team.
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How can we fight the urge?
Just Don’t Do It. No matter how much you want to make that comment and see the look on your co-worker’s face, it’s best to keep your personal life (and others for that matter) PRIVATE.
Set an example for your team and be the voice of reason and understanding – always giving others the benefit of the doubt.
If things escalate, bring it up to management. There’s a strong possibility they’ll have excellent ways to not only put a stop to a particular incident, but also establish a stronger, more effective policy on gossip moving forward.