Defending Yourself Against Workplace Gossip

You’re doing your job, meeting deadlines and quotas, and then your boss asks to see you in their office. You aren’t expecting anything out of the ordinary; maybe this is to discuss a new project or a new addition to the team. But something seems off. Your boss doesn’t look happy, and the first words out of their mouth are “There’s been talk around the office that you’ve been…” And things only go downhill from there.

The problem? You’ve been accused of some type of misconduct, but you weren’t even engaging in any of the bad behavior your boss mentioned! There’s someone in the office spreading lies about you, and it’s affecting how your work is perceived. It’s time to put an end to office gossip. Here’s how.

  1. Explain Things to Your Boss

Before you can deal with the gossiper themselves (whoever they may be), it is important to set things straight with your boss. If you’re being accused of being on social media too often, explain that it was for work, checking in on a sick family member, or whatever the reason may be. If someone is saying you aren’t meeting deadlines, and you have proof that you have met deadlines, bring that up as well. Keep things calm, and don’t bring emotion into it. Your boss only cares about your own work and ranting about the gossiper could make you look unprofessional.

  1. Don’t Seek Retribution

Okay, now comes the hard part. You’ll probably want to find out who the gossiper is, but that can be hard to do without gossiping yourself. You don’t want to make any faulty accusations. So instead of hunting them down (even if you have a fairly good idea of who it was), ask your manager if they could set a meeting with those who had issues with your behavior. You want to keep things professional, and make them as impersonal as possible.

  1. Ignore the Gossip

If you’re able to get a meeting with the person spreading rumors about you, great! You can explain your side of the story. But it’s entirely possible your boss can’t set a meeting because that would make things awkward, or because they want your accuser’s identity to remain confidential.

If that happens, the best thing you can do is just ignore the gossip. You’ve explained things to your boss, they know what’s going on, and it’s incredibly difficult to confront a gossiper without making the situation worse. People often gossip because something is missing in their own lives, and sometimes confronting them is just the drama they want.

Be a great employee, meet your goals, and nothing they say will even matter.

Have you ever had to deal with gossip at work? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments section below!

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