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Tag Archives: optimism at work

Office Gossip 2

It’s ugly and hurtful, but it happens in almost every workplace. Gossip. It’s those little hurricanes that start as whispers. Someone spreads a rumor about another person and then it grow and grows, damaging reputations or pitting people against each other.

Even if gossip stays small, it’s still harmful. Feelings may get hurt or reputations ruined…and whoever is spreading the gossip becomes a little more untrustworthy in others’ eyes.

It’s better to stay out or, better yet, actively fight gossip. How?

  1. Defend the gossip subject.

Next time someone tells you Kathy is stealing office supplies or Mike is on the verge of getting fired, respond with a shrug and say, “Hmm, that doesn’t sound like her/him. I’d rather not speculate.”

  1. Change the subject

It’s not a cop-out to change the subject when others are gossiping. It can actually be quite difficult and takes a lot of guts. Effectively change the subject by saying something like, “I’d rather not talk about [NAME]. Can you tell me if we’re meeting in room A or B for our meeting today? I have to set up some audio equipment…”

  1. Focus on others’ good qualities

When you talk about other people, make sure it’s always in a positive light. Don’t assign blame, chastise, or spread rumors. Instead, make an effort to look for the positive in each person and point it out to others. “Did you see Mark’s client report? It’s so detailed this time around! He must have put a lot of effort into it.”

  1. Be an example

Demonstrate to others that you are trustworthy AND a leader by not stooping to the level of petty office gossip.

  1. Confront gossip about YOU

There’s no better way to stop gossip in its tracks than to confront it…especially if it’s about you. When you’re approaching someone whom you know has spread a rumor about you, try your best to be level-headed and even-toned. Talk to the offender as if you were clearing up a simple fact. “Hey Lindsey. I heard you were saying X about me. It makes me disappointed and a little angry that you think that.” OR “Hey Graham, I wanted to clear up a misunderstanding. I did not do XYZ. Instead, I did ABC. I hope that clears things up.”

No matter how you slice it, it isn’t easy to fight office gossip. Be a shining example, talk about others in a positive light, and avoid spreading rumors, and you’ll find that other positive people will gravitate toward you. Your unwillingness to wade into office gossip proves that you are worthy of others’ trust and respect.


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Fall is upon us and, looking back, I learned some valuable lessons from my garden this past year. It’s a quiet instructor, but it can teach us a few valuable things about resiliency and promotion-worthy behavior in the workplace.

1. A sunny personality stands out from the crowd. Which flower are you most likely to stop and admire: the one that shows its stuff and is bright and colorful, or the one that is shriveled and dull? Having a bright personality is one of the best ways to draw positive attention to yourself and promote your psychological brand. Companies endorse and promote those with optimistic, upbeat personalities.

2. What you put in is what you get out. With all the work and activities we tend to pile on our plates, it’s easy to neglect ourselves. We might skip meals, go to bed late, or forget to exercise. This way of living is unhealthy and frankly, unsustainable. If you really want to blossom and do your best at work, make sure to set aside some “me time” every single day and focus on health, nutrition, and quiet time.

3. “Bee” hospitable to others. You are part of a community and, like flowers reach out to bees, you should reach out to your co-workers. Even if you like being a lone wolf, the truth is we need and rely on the insights, advice, skills, and expertise of our co-workers. A couple months ago, I wrote a newsletter on why great leaders should help others succeed. Please click HERE if you are interested in reading the whole article.

4. Don’t plant shade-loving plants in the sun. Everyone has their own unique skill set or “sweet spot,” as I like to call it. As a leader or influencer, make sure your team members are working in the right area. If someone on your team is struggling, it may not be because of their competency, it may simply be because they are a square peg attempting to fit into a round hole. By paying attention and getting to know others’ strengths, you will distinguish yourself as a capable, insightful leader.

As winter sneaks up on us, don’t forget the summer flowers and the lessons they teach us!

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