How to Manage Gossip at Work - What Works Best?

Written by: Meenakshi Joshi – M Sc
(Psychology)

Last updated date : April 11, 2022

Table of Contents

How to Manage Gossip at Work – What Works Best?

  1. Why Do People Gossip at Work?
  2. How to Manage Gossip at Work?
  3. Summary

You spend a very large part of your day at work. The people you work with become a part of your life. You must be part of a group at work! People tend to form groups with those who they like or those who are like them. They are likely to gossip, have fights, etc. with “others”. It is easy to become a victim of gossip at work. Learn how to manage gossip at work.

Chapter 1:
Why Do People Gossip at Work?

The purpose of work is to earn a living. You want to work so that you can earn money to take care of yourself and your family. You might work to achieve certain goals. Also, you might enjoy what you do and that makes you work. For others, work could be a way to establish their identity or make a name for themselves.

Given all these reasons, it is surprising that people tend to gossip at work and manage to make someone a victim of such gossip. You would think that people work for their enhancement then why would they need to gossip? Why would an educated person who has his life goals and ambition need to indulge in such habits?

A few reasons to gossip

Here are a few reasons why people gossip at work and it might be difficult to manage such gossip at the workplace.

  • To be a part of a group: To be accepted or to be a part of groups at work, people tend to do things that are likely to increase their popularity. For example, Ms. H is a new employee and she sees a popular group of her co-workers tend to make fun of others or talk about others. She wants to be “accepted” and “make friends”, so she tries to “connect” to this group by gossiping about the person they make fun of! Also, Ms. H might try to look cool by making fun of the person the group does not like.
  • To show yourself as “better” than others: You might feel that the only way to show that you are better than someone is to put the person down. And hence, you might say bad things about them, manage to find faults in them, or make them a victim of gossip at work.
  • To get in the good book of your boss: Again, to show that you are good, you might end up complaining or talking bad about your co-workers to your boss. For example, you and your co-worker both are contenders for the promotion. You badly want that promotion. For this, you might go to the boss and tell on your co-worker. You are simply telling the facts. And hence, you tell your fact that your co-worker is doing through a divorce. You talk about missing work or coming late due to this. In your mind, you are doing nothing wrong. You are just helping but with your gossip, you can manage to make things worse for that co-worker t work.
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Chapter 2:
How to Manage Gossip at Work?

Here are simple ways in which you can manage gossip at work.

What you can do as an employee?

  1. Find a better way to connect to people. If you are new or have just joined an office, then you need to find nicer ways of making friends or connecting to people. You can find out what the people in your team like to do. You can join a hobby class with them. If your team is a foodie, you can invite them for dinner at your home. Also, you can take them out for dinner to a specialty restaurant.
  2. Decide that you will not gossip or be a part of anything that includes hurting others. You need to be strong and not give in to the urge of trying to impress others by using gossip as a means. Also, you need to have a clear sense of right and wrong. So, you act professionally. Be busy with your work.
  3. Leave work on time. Usually, people who stay after office time are the ones that gossip. They feel that as office hours are over, the bosses have left, and they are free to act as they want. Additionally, they feel that they are no longer bound to act professionally. These people tend to stay back and gossip about others.
  4. If you or any of your co-workers is a victim of gossip at work, then you should report it to a superior. Do not ignore it! Take action or manage gossip at work, if you can. If not, report to a person who can take action against the people who are gossiping.
  5. Chats or unofficial office groups have become that new place to gossip. So, try not to be a part of such a group. You will waste your time and energy doing unproductive things.

What can you do as a boss?

  1. As a boss, you need to implement some ethical policies that highlight the need to be civil and polite with your co-workers.
  2. You need to discourage any employee who tries to come to you with any gossip. The best way to manage gossip at work is to not gossip or listen to others when they gossip. If you refrain from it and refuse to tolerate others engaging in gossip, then people at your workplace will stop gossiping.
  3. Highly rewards co-operation and teamwork. If you what to reduce gossip, then you need to promote co-operation and working together.
  4. Observe what is happening at work. Have trusted people who watch over your employee and bring any inappropriate behaviour or comments to your notice. Also, it is okay to let people know that will be observed when they are at work and they need to maintain professional working ethics. If the people at work feel that they are observed, they will not take rules lightly. They might try to avoid such incorrect actions.
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Chapter 3:
Summary

Gossip at work is difficult to manage. Try to maintain a work-life separation. When you leave the office, leave things that are part of the office there itself. Do not carry them home! Things including gossip! Do not make office politics and gossip an important part of your life. Also, refuse to be a part of gossip or such groups at work. Respect your work and respect your co-workers. So not use work as a way to satisfy your esteem needs. Be popular by doing good work. Earn respect and praise by being sincere and hardworking and not by gossiping. Please check out our “courses” page to find some exciting courses that you can take up. Also, you can read more about the topics that interest you on our “learn” page.