Monday Motivation: The inside scoop on office gossip.

alex for kununu

People love talking. That’s never going to change. The challenge is navigating office gossip successfully—without becoming a victim of it.

  • Don’t let the biggest gossip go unchallenged
    • Get in their face a little.

Entrepreneur recommends being direct with the office gossip—and letting coworkers know their behavior isn’t acceptable. Inc. agrees, pointing out that “when you directly address what the person is doing, you take some of the fun out of it.” Gossip thrives in secrecy and whispers. Taking it on directly can change the culture.

  • One no-no: all-office emails
    • It’ll backfire.

Forbes is right on this one: “Something I don’t encourage is trying to stop negative office gossip at an all-employee level.” As noted, one-on-one conversations are much better. When the boss emails the whole office asking everyone not to gossip, people will just complain. And wonder what the gossip is. Which leads to…gossip.

The Wall Street Journal takes a realistic approach. At some point, you might end up the target of negative gossip. In that situation, you gotta get tactical. Hopefully, you have confidantes who will have your back—and who you can ask to “take your side.” To maximize your chances, the article suggests “maintaining strong alliances at three levels in your organization—above, below and at your own level.”

If the gossip about you is BS—and especially if it’s ridiculous—Fast Company suggests explicitly making fun of the rumor.

Under the idea that people will always talk, Margot Carmichael Lester has sage advice: might as well give them something to talk about. She quotes a workplace expert: there are “myths — found in many organizations — about dedicated employees who did something out of the ordinary to help a customer, to save a failing project, to implement a new innovation, etc.”

You can be the myth: the subject of “positive gossip,” like at a law firm where the creation story involved a founding partner mortgaging his house to finance an early case.

Probably don’t actually mortgage your house, though.