Gossiping is normal in workplaces. Yes, you read that right! And frankly speaking, gossip indeed has proven its efficacy, over the years, as a potent communication method in multiple ways. If you check closely, every work environment (let’s not get into the virtual mode here) includes gossip. No matter how much you try to shut down gossip, it will happen. People continue gossiping, sans rules or regulations.
It’s one of the oldest forms of communication that surprisingly hasn’t lost flavor to this day. The only question that might occur to us is the uncertainty part of gossip. Like, when is the right time to gossip? And how appropriate it would be to consider gossip as a harbinger of something more positive? The answer lies in the ethics part, and definitely when you wish to utilize it for something better.
What Is The Reason For Gossiping?
Quite an impactful form of communication – it has its roots in human evolution. Since time immemorial, it’s been used for bonding, interpreting, and building camaraderie with people of the world. Since it’s informal, especially when two or sometimes three people are involved, the language and messaging seem to be very casual and simple. Sadly, the outsized impact of what you hear about somebody, or his or her behavior, can greatly influence your feelings and in turn, your behavior.
How Is Gossiping An Active Skill?
Gossiping is speaking about any such person who isn’t present at a given moment and it’s a very critical social skill that psychologists and behavioral scientists identify. There are two factors focussed here – one is others’ natures or specific behaviors and second, the moral judgment about these behaviors and how they conform to the social norms.
You might be amazed knowing that some of the greatest leaders at workplaces are often the ones who excelled at gossiping! After all, it’s a social skill and they mastered that well. However, don’t forget that their success rate was highly dependent on the type of gossip they engaged in – positive or negative.
When Does It Become A Problem?
We consider gossiping as a negative behavioral trait, just because it deals with others’ negative behaviors. But in reality, it is said to be one of the most common things in gossip. When we share misinformation, spread rumors about people, and continue to display such wrongful acts, then the negatives outweigh the positives.
Negative gossip might come with its share of excitement and entertainment, but there are few benefits that we tend to overlook. You might ask how? Now think along this line – doesn’t it help you identify the more trustworthy people at your workplace? Or discover something about someone that is generally hidden from the outside world?
On the other hand, drawbacks are present everywhere – there is a noticeable lack of cooperation, distortion of information, and most importantly, there’s a typical impact on the mental health of the concerned person/s. Just like leaders who you look up to, there are narcissistic ones who practice this negative side of gossip and eventually fall into their trap of spreading rumors and thereby adding to the hostility around.
The next time, a negative gossip does the rounds – consider that as a chance to reflect on your behaviors and attitudes and how you can improve yourself (as a gossiper and/or contributor to initiating anti-social behavior).
Can You Benefit From It?
Positive outcomes come along with gossip and that’s known to all. The challenge lies in distinguishing between what is good and bad. Try to maximize the use of this communication method, and not share personal information about others if you don’t have their permission. When speaking to others, speak well about your team.
You can share stories of their skills, success, or even funny incidents! The information heard is left to individuals to utilize or misuse. If there’s anything good to share, ensure you’re doing the most you can to render help to others. Never forget that untrustworthy people can concoct cock-and-bull-stories, so verify the information you get to hear.
As stressed earlier, it’s difficult escaping gossip at work. But if you counteract from the start and let people know that negative gossip is just not OK, anytime and every time, then that’s positive behavior.