If you work in an organizational culture where gossip and rumors run rampant, how can you navigate your way through it and thrive?
In one sense, gossip is a natural human endeavor because it plays into our desire to belong to a group with similar interests and share stories. That’s the good side…and it’s rarely-if ever-as simple as that.
The dark side of gossip involves the seductive power of negative news, which is especially tempting when it involves people we know. It’s like a train wreck: we’re unable to avert our eyes, knowing full well that we’ll be forever changed if we continue to stare at it.
We’re curious to know the gory details about others – an inclination that helps us discern friend versus foe in the workplace. But gossipers have personal agendas, and they rarely adhere to facts. Instead, they seek to influence us by delivering biased and often false messages.
Once their words are unleashed, it’s difficult to “un-ring the bell,” especially if you haven’t had time to confront the reality, facts or person. Meanwhile, an individual’s reputation has been tainted – perhaps permanently.
Tomorrow….Part 2: Types of Gossipers