I have a co-worker who stirs up trouble at work because she is always gossiping about someone. It creates a lot of hard feelings and pits people against each other. I know the manager has talked with her about this when others have complained. How do I keep out of the drama?
I’ve had to deal with this from both a co-worker and a management position so I’m going to give my opinion on how to handle this situation from both perspectives.
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If you’re having this problem with a co-worker, try and remove yourself from the gossip and in-fighting by disengaging. Don’t be a willing audience to the gossip; don’t listen to it. Turn a deaf ear to it, ignore it, or walk away from it if you have to. Don’t join in with the gossip; keep your mouth shut. Refrain from entering into a gossipy conversation about your other co-workers, go somewhere else to take your break if you need to.
Finally, don’t repeat the gossip or share it with others. Let it die a natural death. If it gets too bad, report the source of the gossip to your supervisor. It’s their job to help make your workplace conducive to performing the work you’re hired to do.
If you’re a manager who sees the poison gossip creates among the staff you supervise, keep your focus on the person who instigates problems and stirs up drama. One thing these types like to do is pit people against each other. Often, the accusations that are slung about are not even true, which makes your job of managing difficult if problems do need to be addressed.
The best way to discover the truth is to sit all the involved employees down together and confront them as a group. When the person who is doing the gossiping is asked to openly voice their complaints in front of management and the person they are gossiping about, they will either back down or the truth will be uncovered for you to address.
Worst-case scenario, gossipers can destroy employee morale and decrease productivity and you may need to consider terminating them.
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- How can you prep for your Oscar-worthy performance of ignoring, not hearing and not being affected by the gossip?
- What work and personal standards do you have for reporting problems at work to your supervisor?
- How long has this gossip been causing problems at work?
- What has been tried to resolve the gossiping issue?
- Have those methods been effective?
- If not, at what point do you as the employee ask for help from management or you as manager terminate the errant employee?