Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about gossip about promotion:
I have been on a detail from my old job and I have since got a promotion. Now there are several people talking behind my back. At least one person keeps finding fault with the way I handled my old job. Mind you, she is very incompetent and is always running to her boss for every little thing. I know for a fact that at least three of them (all black males) talk about everybody even our bosses. I have decided to avoid these people by not going to lunch with them or participating in lengthy conversations.
Signed, Object of Criticism and Gossip
Dear Object of Criticism and Gossip:
Is your question: is it best to avoid going to lunch with your gossiping coworkers? From what you imply I gather you are in a new job and you think some coworkers are finding fault about your old job, especially one individual who runs to the boss for every little thing. So is your question: how can I stop people talking behind my back?
You can’t stop gossip. People will talk. Gossip fills the time. It is a way to say we’re ok and what do you know about so and so? There is a need for people to connect, if for nothing else but to cope with boredom. For some people, that need is expressed in joining others in a put down of an out group or a scapegoat. It makes them feel they are no so bad as they are or are bit better.
You have some choices:
· Have a stiffer backbone and strong shoulders that allow gossip and down talk slide off like raindrops. Avoid is a choice you now say you are making. Tend to your own job and maintain only communication that is absolutely necessary. Surely there are some in your work area with whom you can gradually cultivate a relationship that makes you not feel isolated. So far it doesn’t seem that you have any heard anything specific–rather you have a general feeling that you are hated because you got a promotion. And that might be the case. You might have to work around jealousy.
· Bend a little, seeing some good in a clique with whom you don’t really feel comfortable. In short make it difficult for them to not know you are present. Join them for lunch. · Confront them; ask are you talking about me? Saying, “Stop. If you need to know something or don’t like what I’ve done or doing come to me.” Ask, “What do you need to know? Is there something about me that rubs you the wrong way?” Accept reasonable criticism, a possibility you don’t mention.
· Think through and negotiate what you need from others for your job–work out responsibilities and boundaries, collaborating with coworkers do together what you can not do alone. Discovering overarching goals that motivate cooperation. · Report to you boss that some coworkers are gossiping about you. And to let him handle it. I think a boss should be informed of your anxiety and desire to be a respected member of your work group. She/he should coach; and that means skull sessions and involving all coworkers in setting and reaching goals. Sometimes coaching entails knocking heads together and firmly insisting that gossip doesn’t distract from getting the job done. You question tells me you care. You have not said, “I don’t care what others think” because you know that isn’t true.
You’ve had a promotion and that is evidence that you have job skills. Now if you are to continue within your current work environment, you apparently need to develop people skills. Those skills are political in the sense that you please, persuade, work through conflict, deal with apathy and live with what you can’t. Living with not feeling you belong is uncomfortable, but that sometimes is what it takes. Unfortunately that is the case. Yet, I don’t think this is the only way all of us must cope. Can you can keep your cool and be cordial, yet not dependent on others liking you? Can you help shape your work group to be effective and quality minded? Can you be focused on cutting out waste–wasted supplies, time, and money rather than be soured by gossip? Can you think beyond your own self to what it takes to make your work group look good? If you can’t, you can’t, and you will see my signature maxim as pie in the sky: Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Feel free to let me know if any of these thoughts prompt you to action.