Most of us do it and some of us even start it.
It is frowned upon publicly, but privately it is often indulged in, unless you are a professional gossiper. Then you can make money through publishing it in magazine and newspaper columns or even through your own talk show. However, in some places around the world, it is seen as downright criminal.
Stress and Workplace Gossip
A 1941 Soviet war poster conveyed the message: “Don’t chatter! Gossiping borders on treason”. In many religious circles it is seen as a sin. Judaism considers gossip spoken without a constructive purpose as sinful, as it demeans the dignity of man — both the speaker and the subject of the gossip.
Gossip is seen as idle talk or rumour, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. The term is sometimes used to specifically refer to the spreading of dirt and misinformation.
Workplace gossip can destroy
Peter Vajda identifies gossip as a form of workplace violence, noting that it is “essentially a form of attack.”
Accordingly, many companies have formal policies in their employee handbooks against gossip.
Negative consequences of workplace gossip may include:
- Lost productivity and wasted time
- Erosion of trust and morale
- Increased anxiety among employees as rumours circulate without any clear information as to what is fact and what isn’t
- Growing divisiveness among employees as people “take sides”
- Hurt feelings and reputations
- Jeopardized chances for the gossipers’ advancement as they are perceived as unprofessional
- Attrition as good employees leave the company due to the unhealthy work atmosphere
Beverly’s Hot Tips For Building Resiliency and Celebrating End Gossip Day:
Gossiping is a reflection of who you are at the core.
- Consider the conversations that you have. Are they serving a purpose? Is that purpose constructive? Is it focusing on solving issues or just to draw people to ‘your-side’?
“…Without a constructive purpose.” This is what separates gossip from regular conversation.
- It can be hard to avoid gossip. Become skilled at walking away or changing the subject. If you can, focus the conversation on problem solving instead of allowing the ‘attack’ to continue.
Gossip can cause a great deal of stress in our workplaces and communities. Workplaces that are entrenched with gossip grapevines can see their productivity and engagement plummet. Communities can split apart. Though sometimes there is entertainment value attached to the gossip, the end result is hardly worth it.
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!