Gossip. We’ve all heard about it. We’ve all done it. We’ve all been on the receiving end of it too. No one is immune. Yes, some are addicted to it and use it as a means of connecting with others.
Workplace bullies thrive on using gossip. It takes a true leader to not participate in gossip. Furthermore, it takes a true leader to stop it. So now what?
They say if you really want to know what people think about you, go to the washroom at work and wait to hear what others say! Well, even if you’ve never done that or won’t do that, know that gossip is happening everywhere. The question is, do you have a personal policy with regard to not spreading gossip? Do you have an organizational policy? What can you do if you are on the receiving end? What is gossip anyway?
What is Gossip?
Gossip can be explained as: Rumor or discussion of a personal or sensational tone.
Why Do People Gossip?
Gossip is a way of avoiding responsibility for one’s feelings, and it can be used by someone with a lower self-image as a way to connect with others and feel better about oneself, but at the expense of another.
Gossip acts as an external substitute to filling one’s own needs of connection without having to face anything that is going on inside such as rejection, fear, etc. It’s a lazy form of connection. Perhaps it is hard to truly connect with others when you are disconnected from yourself. This won’t change until you are willing to practice staying mindful with your own feelings and take responsibility for your feelings, rather than avoiding them with gossip. Bullies choose gossip as a tactic many times. Why? It’s so much easier than facing their own lack. People gossip to connect. Is it right to gossip if it becomes at the expense of another?
Why Does a Bully Use Gossip?
Gossip fits well into the bully’s plan. The bully can stretch or bend the truth or make up a lie about a target and not confront the target directly. Remember, gossip is indirect, passive behavior that the target is not usually included in directly. The bully uses gossip, the most powerful form of control in an organization, in order to discredit an individual. If the target is discredited, the bully gets a ‘rush’ to feel their addiction of needing power over. Bystanders continue to listen because they are filling their need to connect. But we must ask ourselves when listening: is this at the expense of someone?
Why Do People Enjoy Hearing Gossip?
Gossip is almost always something personal toward the target where the target is being presented as ‘less than’. When we hear of someone as ‘less than’, we do not have to do the work to be more ourselves. Competitiveness is king in this equation. Anyone addicted to competitiveness and envy will surely have to discipline themselves to not gossip. But will they?
So, What’s The Answer? Commit to These Decisions:
Hearing that we’ve been gossiped about can be devastating. Know that it happens to good people. Know your own truth. Study rejection and how to handle it – Check out our book Mastering the Art of Success to help you.
Here’s to a future of support, kindness, gentleness, patience and hope.
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Valerie Cade, CSP is a Workplace Bullying Expert, Speaker and Author of "Bully Free at Work: What You Can Do To Stop Workplace Bullying Now!" which has been distributed in over 100 countries worldwide. For presentations and consulting on workplace bullying prevention and respectful workplace implementation, go to http://www.BullyFreeAtWork.com
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