Vincy Workplace
February 18, 2011
Heard it through the Grapevine

According to a survey, the average employee spends 65 hours per year—gossiping! That’s more than one week’s salary! But, gossip doesn’t just cost a company money. It can cost a reputation or a promotion; it can cause stress-induced illness; and it can create a very unhealthy atmosphere that drains productivity and creativity.{{more}}

In case you forgot, gossip is the act of talking about someone behind his or her back, and usually it’s not in favorable terms. Think about it . . . you talk about how ugly someone is in “those” clothes; you talk about the comments someone made at a meeting; you talk about the quality of someone’s work. If you can get your lips around information about someone’s personal life, well, the talk just gets juicer. Co-workers, affairs, marriages, promotions, demotions, kids—these are just some of the hot topics.

Ultimately, we are all humans who want to do good deeds, so try a little harder each day with some of these deeds to combat gossiping:

If you listen, you gossip. Yes, even if you only sit around and passively soak in tidbits of information, you are providing an audience for malicious lips bent on decimating someone’s character. You may not say anything or repeat anything but you are guilty by association. Either walk away or be vocal and encourage your colleagues to end the conversation.

Say it to their face. Most of the time, gossip is information you should say to a person’s face but you don’t because you are uncomfortable doing so. Be bold and say what you need to say directly to the appropriate person. Besides getting a message to the appropriate person, doing so will force you to be diplomatic and strategic about what comes out of your mouth. Don’t just rant and rave about a person and then shut up as soon they come into your presence. Say what you need to say and move on.

Small minds discuss people. An old saying tells us that small minds discuss people, while great minds discuss ideas. Commit yourself to being a person with a great mind. Instead of discussing your colleague’s dismal performance, why not sit with them and offer ideas for improvement. Instead of discussing how frazzled and distracted your coworker seems, invite them to lunch or sit with them on a break and offer your assistance.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to

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