Office gossip about a boss, a fellow employee, or even a competitor is just plain bad. It doesn't uplift the workplace environment, it constantly puts tension in the air, and makes employees unproductive. Some workers just can't handle harsh criticism, being lied on, disrespected, or whispered about. The more it is done at the workplace, the more it will fuel the fire between individuals who already have a hard enough time working together.
Bosses, supervisors, and others are guilty of playing favorites. They tell the favored ones what they like and don't like about certain staff members in the hope that what they say won't get back to the target, but oftentimes it does especially when there is a family connection. Workers don't think about just how small the world is when they talk about their personal issues and problems they are having with co-workers. Employees tend to know one another in other departments particularly in industries where workers are encouraged to attend events together, participate in conference calls and classes.
Playing favorites is divisive and when there is a boss who often has lunch with one favored supervisor and not the others, this too can create problems. Workers wonder why are the two so friendly and what is being said. Most leaders will not spend much time with any workers during personal time, because they don't want to be accused of playing favorites between staff.
Here are some tips to keep the gossip drama to a minimum:
1. Avoid the temptation to display who your favorite people are in front of fellow workers especially if you are in leadership, such as: inviting the same workers to have lunch with you daily; instead of inviting the team or having lunch at the office for everyone to participate.
2. Keep criticism to yourself unless you plan on doing something about the concerns of staff members.
3. Be kind to everyone even if you would rather hurt them with your words.
4. Be quick to apologize if your negative words should reach the ears of someone you dislike and present a plan for making wrongs right. Apologizing doesn't mean you like the person, but it does make you aware of how what you say has not only hurt the person (put yourself in his or her shoes), but caused issues at the workplace. A good employee would not want to cause disruption or create further tension for fellow workers.
5. If things become too upsetting at the workplace because of gossip, favoritism and more, take the time to evaluate whether you still like the workplace and if it is in the best interest of your self and others on whether you should stay. Dismiss yourself before the boss dismisses you.
Nicholl McGuire, author of Job Journal, My Business Plan and other journals on Blurb.com