Even if you work in a high school, you are not presently a high schooler. That means you should cut out the gossip! There is no room for gossip and rumors in the workplace. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Steel Magnolias”, you may remember character Clairee saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say…come sit by me!” Unfortunately, this is a mentality held by lots of adults in the workplace. But gossip can be hurtful, and certainly cuts down on productivity.
Why do people gossip in the first place? A lot of the time, people start rumors because they like to be the center of attention. Others gossip because they are frustrated, upset or jealous of another person. If you routinely gossip in the workplace, your co-workers may begin to know you as “The Gossip.” Whereas, if you don’t participate in gossip, you may be known as “a Stick in the Mud.” At any rate, if someone at work comes to you with gossip, you can fight it off without making an awkward situation. Respond with phrases like “I’m more interested in what you’re doing”, or “Let’s talk about what we’re going to do today.” If the person trying to gossip to you just won’t get the hint that you’re not interested, you may reply with, “Let’s look at it from (person’s name)’s side.”
Secondhand news is another productivity killer and confusing character in the workplace. Have you ever played “The Telephone Game”? The game begins with one player whispering a made-up phrase into the ear of the player next to him or her. This phrase is whispered all the way down the line until it reaches the final player. And the twist is that the whispered phrase may only be spoken once; no repeating! The final player says what he or she heard aloud, and usually, it is quite different than what the original player started with. This game mimics what happens in the workplace many times; secondhand news can many times get misconstrued as it moves down the pipeline. If you’re unsure about some information you hear, especially when it comes to policy or operations, go to the source. Ask the person who told you the information where they first heard it. You can also ask for the information in writing, to be sure that it is correct.