Guest Post: 7 Reasons Not To Get Involved In Office Gossip
With friendships, hierarchies and politics in the workplace, combined with how much time we spend there, it can become very tempting to engage in gossip with colleagues as a way to while away the time and forge bonds. But it is a definite company culture no-no and can be damaging to your career. Below are 7 reasons not to get involved:
1. Reputation. Be careful not to get a name for yourself as someone who is loose-lipped. Whilst people may seem to enjoy your secret whispers you’ll soon become more associated with banter than with excellent organisatinal culture and outstanding work performance. You’ll risk looking unprofessional which could adversely affect the speed at which your career moves forward. Peers can become managers and so it’s important not to lose people’s respect for you.
2. Trust. People will also perceive you to be untrustworthy, even though they may seem to enjoy the entertainment. This means they may hold important work information back from you or not entrust you with more responsibility or special projects.
3. Promotion Prospects. If colleagues think that you are a gossip the chances are that management will discover this too. You may think that because it’s not within earshot they won’t know, but news travels fast in offices and if you lose the trust and respect of your managers then you run the risk of being overlooked for promotion, seriously impeding your career prospects.
4. Tables Turned. If you are quick to get involved in gossip and are fine with discussing colleagues behind their backs then you have to accept that this will make you an easy target for gossip too, as no one will feel any guilt about indulging in the behaviour that you clearly condone.
5. HR Reprimand. What may be seen as harmless chatting to some can be perceived as bullying by another; becoming a victim of sustained gossip can feel as aggressive as outright attacks and so it’s possible that you could become the subject of an HR complaint if you succumb to office gossip. You could be vulnerable to a formal warning or even, in severe cases, dismissal. To stay on the safe side of what can or can’t be perceived as bullying, steer clear of it altogether.
6. Looking Work Shy. As well as risking your reputation for gossiping, engaging in it reduces the amount of time you are actually spending on work, which could harm productivity levels and therefore damage your career prospects.
7. Stand Out As An Exemplary Employee. Employees who get their heads down to work and spend less time cultivating personal relationships are far likelier to be noticed by managers for their productivity and ambition. They might not be as fun around the office but it will be those who are seen to take it seriously that will be fast tracked through the hierarchy.
Follow the tips above, and you’ll always stay out of gossip trouble.