Count yourself in the minority if you don’t gossip at work.
Over three-fourths of your cohorts do.
Fifty-three percent gossip at their desks. Another 22 percent prefer to gossip in the kitchen or lunchroom. Defying folklore, a scant 2 percent choose to gossip at the water cooler. That’s a total of 77 percent.
These eye-opening stats are reported by Kelton Research.
Few people admit to being gossips or have a good word to say about the practice. Nevertheless, it exists and it’s not going away.
Here’s the real-world question: Are you wasting time or engaging in a destructive practice when you help churn the rumor mill? Or are you out of the loop on vital information that could help you do a better job and advance your career if you don’t participate in gossip on the job? (A survey by a research firm, known as ISR, showed that 63% of U. S. employees get all or most of their information about their companies from “water-cooler talk.”)
Okay, in a perfect world gossipers wouldn’t exist, but we all know the world has its imperfections a plenty. Gossip and gossipers are here to stay. Deal with it if you want to achieve your career goals.
The fact is that every place of employment functions with two channels of communications. One is the official conduit: memos from the boss, bulletin board postings, e-mails, meetings and employee newsletters. The second is known by various names: gossip, rumors and grapevine.
The conclusion is obvious. Gossip will exist whether you participate or not, and it will include some nourishing wheat along with a lot of worthless chaff. If you are not plugged into the back channel, as well as the official channel, you will be isolated. Therefore, you will not know what’s going on in the environment in which you work. If you don’t know the score, you cannot succeed.
Career Tip: There are six steps you can take to separate the outrageous chatter from the meaningful information so the gossip mill works in your favor on the career path.
1. Recognize you can’t eliminate gossip, even if it is trash; but also know that if you try to shut down the gossip mill you will be cut out of the information loop.
2. Tune out the chatter that deals in personalities, especially the malicious stories that do damage to people and the organization that employs you.
3. Feed positive news into the grapevine at every opportunity.
4. Be alert to gossip about your job and the workplace. Verify it or rule it out.
5. Identify the most active purveyors of gossip. Rank them according to their reliability and interpret their messages for what they are.
6. Confront the originator and set the record straight if the gossip is about you and it is untrue.
I wish you career success!
Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work