Personal Development

Ask The Coach 7 – (20 Ways To Deal With Office Gossip).

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This is the  seventh session of Ask The Coach. The main aim of this weekly session is to ask you, the reader, to ask a question to the coach by posting a comment on this post and each week myself and Ayo Olaniyan will attempt to help you by answering your question.

Question from  Tim Stewart Answered by coach Ayo Olaniyan

life coach ayo

Tim's question in full


I work in an environment where there is a lot of gossip, I find myself getting angry, when I hear about rumours about myself that are not true, and I don't know how to handle people that make their judgement of my charachter based on those rumours"¦knowing that they haven't taken the time to even get to know me.

In one particular instance there is a person who makes it a point to ignore me at work, gives me the evil eye etc. I have confronted her, and the reply I got before she walked off was "I do not want to converse with you, you can't be trusted"

I now don't talk to that person as i believe that I have done all that i can do, and now believe that she is the one with the problem, but I still feel uncomfortable around her.

Hope you can help.

20 Ways To Deal With Office Gossip

Hello Tim,

Thanks for posting your question on Ask The Coach.

Office Gossip is simply idle talk or rumours about the personal or private matters of colleagues at work.  It is a very painful experience being the victim of an office gossip and saying I have all the answers on how to resolve such issues would be false.

My response to would be split into 3 different stages:

  • Victim Recovery.
  • Resolving The Problem.
  • Learning from the whole experience.

Resolving The Problem:

This involves looking at various ways of putting a stop to all the unnecessary rumours about you.

  1. Think: Think carefully on how you want to approach the issue.
  2. Know the facts: Be sure to have/know all the necessary information and facts of the matter before confronting any individual involved in spreading such rumours.
  3. Confrontation: Once you have thought of how you want to deal with the issue and your facts are correct, it's up to you to make that   choice of confronting the individuals involved, to find out why they take delight in slandering you.
  4. Higher Authorities: If it's absolutely necessary, get the higher authorities (managers, supervisors) involved. Your reputation may be at stake here and it's worth salvaging all that is left of it.
  5. Natural Death: Give enough time for the gossip to die down naturally. Don't force, push or strive hard to extinguish it. It would eventually fizzle out before you know it.

Victim Recovery:

I feel this is important because it's a human that's been slandered. The victim goes through all kinds of frustration, damaged reputation, anxiety, all sorts of unnecessary worries just because of such rumours.

  1. Always Be Yourself: This is very difficult particularly when you are going through all sorts of slander.   Don't lose your identity or make compromises in order to gain acceptance or be a people pleaser.
  2. Integrity: Keep building your credibility and working on your integrity. Act responsibly in any given situation. Work on areas where there are elements of truth that may damage your reputation.
  3. Safeguard your emotions: Try as much as possible to guard your emotions. There may be a tendency to "˜explode' in anger due to what's being peddled about you or retreat to a shell worrying about the backlash of events, should there be some truth in it. At this point I recommend you be in total control of your emotions. The last thing you want is creating a big scene giving rise to another rumour, disciplinary actions, exchange of words…… There are better ways of expressing yourself and being firm, assertive and in control.
  4. Get some rest: Worrying continuously tends to disturb your sleeping or rest pattern. You need rest to maintain a healthy body and be refreshed for another day's hard work. Your health or work shouldn't suffer because you are unable to get adequate rest due to various worries.
  5. Value positive relationships: It's important you value positive relationships with people who refused to partake in such gossip. They serve as your defence in whole scenario and you can draw so much strength from them.
  6. Revenge: Don't attempt to carry out any revenge on the individuals peddling such rumours. You may not be as skilful as they are and their hearts may be as hard as stone. Deal with any urge to start a rumour (true/false) about such individuals. Resist the temptation of carrying out any revenge because you stoop so low by coming down to their level of reasoning and it makes you just as horrible as they are.
  7. Avoid arguments: Learn to call it quits when you are not making any headway with the individuals involved in peddling such gossip. Avoid all forms of unnecessary arguments because it creates unwanted tension and anxiety.
  8. Maintain your self confidence: Hold your head high up when you walk and live by your principles/examples.
  9. Reconciliation: Reconciliation is coming together to reach a compromise in order to resolve issues or difficulties that may exist with anyone.  It is very difficult to come to a place of peace, understanding and tranquillity when it comes to resolving office gossip, but maturity is displayed when you come together to resolve your differences even if it means you going separate ways, enforcing discipline or minimizing your levels of contact.

Learning from the whole experience.

  1. In the event of it being true, learn to be disciplined and act responsibly.
  2. Avoid creating any suspicions in the minds of people.
  3. Do not be found in compromising positions and situations.
  4. Where there's been a betrayal of trust by someone you speak with regularly, it's time to redefine such relationships.
  5. Always remember what is private, stays private. Don't reveal unnecessary information that won't foster work progress.
  6. Be delighted and hold your head high up, when you've been criticized for being efficient in your job.

The Final Word:

If you have been involved in starting or promoting an office gossip, STOP IT!!! YOU COULD BE THE NEXT VICTIM OF A NEW OFFICE GOSSIP.

I look forward to your positive feedback.

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Ayo Olaniyan