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Rumors in the workplace are a common everyday occurrence. You may hear whispers around the office that are hard to ignore. Rumors, whether they are about you, a coworker or the organization, can be hurtful and damaging. Rumors can distract employees, create conflict and waste valuable time. You can take positive steps to deal with rumors at work.
It is easy to get caught up in spreading rumors. However, a workplace that is heavy with rumors can make employees feel uncomfortable and create an environment of distrust, suggest the experts at Mental Health Works, in the article “Gossip, Rumours and Speculation.” One way to reduce rumors is by not participating. When someone comes to you with a rumor -- whether true or not -- let him know, in a tactful way, that you are not interested. You might say, “I don't want to talk about others; it makes me uncomfortable.” You can also change the topic of conversation or excuse yourself.
If you find yourself the subject of rumors, look for support from someone you trust. For example, sharing your situation with a friend gives you a chance to vent, and she may be able to help you find a solution. If you feel safe doing so, speak directly to the person spreading the rumors. Let her know that you would appreciate it if she would stop spreading them. You can also go to human resources to seek support, especially if the rumors are damaging your professional reputation.
Faith Brown is based in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She has 15-plus years experience in the nonprofit sector with women’s and children’s organizations. Faith holds a Bachelor of Science in human services management from the University of Phoenix.