Ask the Experts: How to Deal with Office Gossip (With Video)

December 14, 2017

Recently, we asked our followers on the LinkedIn Learning Facebook page the biggest work challenge they're currently facing. And we got back a lot of great responses.

Here are three of the most popular responses (edited slightly for length and grammar), followed by our advice on how to overcome them:

1. How do I deal with office gossip?

-Dual M.

The simple answer – don’t get involved.

That doesn’t mean to refute it, as that just propels it even more. The best solution is to avoid it.

You might feel like you are building an emotional connection with someone if you allow them to gossip to you. But remember – if they are gossiping to you, there’s a good chance they are gossiping about you.

For leaders, you need to do more than just refute it. You need to nip it in the bud. Often, gossip increases when people don’t feel a sense of purpose in their work. So, take it as a signal – you need to do a better job of building a better sense of purpose into your team.

2. What should I do when my boss is consistently missing deadlines?

-Ali R.

This is tough. The only thing worse than working with a poor performer is working for a poor performer.

Part of every job is making your boss more successful. So, if your boss isn’t meeting deadlines, remind them. But not in a nagging way – a week before the assignment is done, ask them if everything is on track and if there’s anything you can do to help get it done. Be as helpful as you can be, as the better your boss looks, the better it'll be for you.

3. My boss only gives me negative feedback. I would like positive feedback as well. What do I do?

-Lis S.

Here’s one thing you can do. First, after your boss gives you negative feedback, let them know you heard it by repeating it back to them and saying you appreciate it. Then tell them – “You know what would also be helpful to me? If you could notice some of the things I’m doing well. Because I know I can get even better if I build upon my strengths.”

What if they still don’t give you positive feedback? At that point, be transparent. Tell them, “I know everything isn’t perfect around here, but it would help me so much if you could notice some of the good things I do as well. And I’m happy to do the same for you.”

That should lead to more positive feedback.

Do you have a question for Lisa and Elizabeth on a work challenge you are facing? Email it to them at lisa@mcleodandmore.com

Or, if you are looking for help right now, check out one of Lisa and Elizabeth's LinkedIn Learning courses:

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