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Most employees know it's best to avoid gossip and unprofessional behavior in the workplace. Bad behavior can be disruptive, damage workplace morale and possibly lead to termination. Although nobody is perfect, and there might be times when you are tempted to engage in negative behaviors at work, you're better off coming up with a strategy to stick to the high road. Aim to quickly correct any lapses in judgment and demonstrate standard workplace etiquette.
Keep Your Personal and Professional Lives Separate
It's fun to make friends at work and spend time socializing with them, especially if you have a lot in common and plenty to discuss. However, you should draw certain lines between your professional and private lives. After two drinks at happy hour, it might seem like a good idea to tell Judy from accounting that your boss is incompetent. But if she spends the next morning telling your boss you're disloyal and makes a play for your job, you've learned a costly lesson.
Avoid Spreading Gossip
It's difficult to control workplace gossip, but you can control your reaction to it. Maintaining a professional image means keeping conversations factual and business-related, not speculative or personal. Gossiping about your boss or coworkers is a fast path to being viewed as unprofessional, immature and untrustworthy. Once this reputation gets around, you might jeopardize your chance to advance at the company. You might also risk losing your job. When someone starts spreading workplace gossip, simply let her know you're not interested and walk away.
Rather than say negative things about your coworkers, make it a point to say positive things. Having someone on board who has an energized, upbeat attitude is an asset to morale and rarely goes unnoticed by management. Enthusiastically embrace additional responsibilities that come your way, and communicate to your boss that you are a team player.
Don't get drawn into the drama. You were hired to perform certain duties, so focusing on doing your own job well should take up most of your time at work. If you indulge in gossip or other bad behavior, you will not only get sidetracked from accomplishing your professional goals, you'll also get a reputation for being negative. Think of a racehorse that wears blinders to stay focused and win the race. When it comes to your job, wearing blinders to keep you from being distracted by gossip and unprofessional behavior can only help your chances of success.