I just stumbled upon your website – Love it! I am a nurse speaker, consultant and career coach. My passion? Creating nurturing and supportive environments for student nurses, nurses and ultimately – patients. Many of my keynotes, seminars and writings involve creating cultures of civility and respect. My first book will be published in September – all about teaching nurses to bully-proof themselves.
Thanks so much for your commitment to civility. Kudos!
We’re glad you found us! Congratulations on your book coming out in September. We’d love to read it and provide you with a review, if you’d like! Do you have a website? We’d be happy to post your link on our page as well!
Partners in Civility,
My career is inundated with lateral incivility, especially gossip. How do I get help for this? Managers, administration, EAP are all of no assistance.
As you have experienced, gossip is like a computer virus. It sneaks around, disrupting the way a workplace functions—just like a virus disrupts the way a computer functions. It takes only one person starting some gossip for the entire team to become “infected.” Gossip can eat away at communication between co-workers, damage careers, cause hurt feelings and create plenty of conflict! It can also weigh down employee morale and lead to reduced productivity. In fact, studies have shown that the average employee spends at least 65 hours every year gossiping about co-workers.
It’s tough to give specific advice without knowing more details of your situation. However, if you have gone up the chain of command and asked for help from your EAP, you have two distinct choices: 1) continue on the job, making sure you rise above the gossip or 2) find another job. Let’s look at both options.
If you decide you love your work–despite the gossip problem–then focus on your patients and on being a shining example of how your job should be done. At the same time, make sure you steer clear of the gossip. Don’t react to it and don’t participate in it. Here are a few strategies to avoid being dragged into the gossip at work:
Imagine that Mary comes to you with some gossip about Sarah. In response, say something nice about Sarah. For example, say, “What I like most about Sarah is that she’s a real team player. What do you like most about her?” This may serve as a wake-up call for Mary—and encourage her to speak about Sarah in a positive manner.
Or say, “It sounds like Sarah needs friends to talk to. Why don’t you and I go discuss this with her right now?” This approach may stop Mary in her tracks since she won’t want Sarah to know she has been gossiping about her.
Another tactic is to say, “Can I quote you on this?” Most people who share gossip do not want to have the story associated with them. Chances are that Mary will ask you not to mention her gossip to anyone.
If you decide to seek another job, just be sure you aren’t taking your problem with you. Make a vow not to participate in gossip at your new workplace from day one. This will set the tone and let your new co-workers know that you are not interested in gossiping.
Thanks for contacting us, Susan. If you would like more help, we offer additional suggestions in our book, The REAL Healthcare Reform. Or, feel free to email us with additional details about your situation (email@example.com)…and we’ll try to steer you in the right direction.
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