Gossip Equals Stress
Gossip creates a negative, downward spiraling work atmosphere that distracts people from their work and adds to stress levels in many ways. When you gossip, you indulge in feeling correct and judicial, which ultimately limits your flexibility, increases anger and frustration, and maybe raising blood pressure or having other stress-related health effects. And if you’ve ever been the subject of gossip you know how painful and destructive it can be. Just walking past a group of folks who judge you can be extremely stressful and interfere with your ability to perform your job.
Escape the Gossip-Stress Trap
In some places, gossip is the norm. How do you get away from it? You’ll often see the advice, “Do not gossip.” But what does that mean? What can you do instead to maintain professional behavior, boost morale, respect all individuals and maintain a peaceful, productive, low-stress working atmosphere?
If co-workers are gossiping, quietly excuse yourself. “Uh-oh, I just remembered I need to do something five minutes ago,” will help you escape quickly. Breathe a sigh of relief and pat yourself on the back for side-stepping a stress-producing situation.
Go to the Person
If you are concerned about another person, or you need information about their work or lack of it, it’s kinder, more accurate and more effective to talk directly with that person. Notice that the examples below are not blaming the other person but leave plenty of room for a positive discussion to emerge.
“I have a concern and surprised if you’d be open to talking about it.” “I might have this wrong, but it seems like you have not been doing an xyz task, which means my work has been held up. “I have a problem with getting my report out on time and wonder if you can help me work this out.”
Follow the Chain of Command
If you do not get positive results from speaking with your co-worker directly, go to your boss or your co-worker’s boss with a clear statement of the problem and how it is impacting your work. Again, by focusing on the problem and desired solution, leave room for positive, solution-focused thinking. “I might be missing something, but for the last three weeks, Kelly has not met the Tuesday deadline on XYZ, which means that I can not make my Wednesday deadline. better again? ”
Speak Kind Words or None at All
This old saw contains great wisdom. Think before you open your mouth. Is what you are about to say going to help the situation or contribute to the overall stress level? Is it likely to harm the listener or the subject of the conversation? Would you feel stressed out if someone else said this kind of thing about you?
When a negative or judicial thought pops into your mind, hold it. Go do something productive instead of speaking. Simply observe yourself being quiet and shifting gears to master your mind-mouth connection. At first, you may feel uncomfortable holding your tongue, but it gets easier with practice. At the end of the day, notice your stress level and how you feel about yourself as a result of minding your words. Chances are you will feel calmer and pleased that you helped promote a peaceful atmosphere.
Mind Your Own Business
If gossip is about a co-worker’s personal life, it is most likely none of your business. Ignore the gossip but be kind to the person. Observe the office dynamics around this a little distance to keep your own stress levels low.
Feature Image: City Business School