Office chatter or gossip is common and if we participate, not only does it become disruptive negative behavior, but it also becomes a time waster. Yes, I know, we want to build relationships at work and with such need, comes bonding and at times clicks are formed. It happens, we are human. However let’s be honest, relationships at work should not be a cause for losing focus of what we are here to do. Instead those relationships we forge should allow us to collaborate more effectively and work as a team toward our company and departmental goals. Think about how much time we spend socializing at work and think of the value it’s bringing to our work. If we can’t find value then we should continue to build those relationships but do so in a way that it allows us to continue being productive and most effective in our day to day. Negative chatter has no place in the work place. The word “negative” alone tells us it is not productive. Therefore we need to stay away from participating in this type of activity. Keeping the work place free of such behavior fosters a positive, harmonious energy which will create a more dynamic environment in which we as a team can come together for the greater good.
What to do if caught in the middle of negative chatter? We may be tempted to respond in like manner, yet what we say or do next can either add fuel to the fire or it can stop the fire from spreading. Understand that there is always opportunity to find a positive from a negative. Therefore instead of responding in a defensive or aggressive manner. Be open to the input and accept this exchange as feedback. Like with all feedback some is spot on while some may be based on assumption. Your job is not to come to an agreement or consensus at this time, instead be grateful for the feedback and take time to review the feedback. Learn from it and hold on to the good feedback and disregard the portion based on chatter. How we react to noise not only impacts your work environment but it can also impact how we move within an organization. Handling the noise effectively gives us skills we will need toward negotiating, collaborating and team building. If you are simply part of the chatter, you can change the topic by infusing some positive feedback. Highlight the good in others, or in things and continue to focus in those aspects because at the end, things are never as terrible as negative chatter makes them out to be.