Taking Control of Negative Gossip

Abbey was fed up with Tom’s gossip about their co-worker, Jim. She felt uncomfortable listening to it, but didn’t know how to stop it.

To Abbey, Jim had always seemed kind and helpful. She disliked hearing from Tom how Jim flirted with women in the department, held a side job, had been married multiple times or that he drove a particular kind of car to impress others. But she never said anything, because she didn’t want to be rude.

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Gossip Busting

1. Watch out for danger

The longer you participate in a gossip session, the harder it is to walk away. So watch out for early signs that a conversation is deteriorating into negative gossip. For example, phrases like “did you hear about…” or “don’t tell anyone else but…” might precede gossip. Or people might look over their shoulders and lower their voices. When these things happen, be ready to act.

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Workplace Gossip

Joining in a gossip session at work can be tempting. But what are the consequences to you and your team?

Gossiping involves sharing unsubstantiated information. Gossiping at work is a normal behaviour – it is a way of sharing news and bonding with colleagues. Most gossip is innocent and helps connect people. But when gossip becomes malicious and nasty, it is a toxic behaviour. You can tell that a conversation has moved beyond harmless chitchat when:

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How to disagree without being disagreeable

Being in conflict involves having a difference of opinion. You can air that difference without causing offence.

There are many situations where you need to express disagreement tactfully. For example, you might need to express concern about an idea promoted by your boss. Your parents might have expectations you can’t meet. Or you might need to keep your partner on-side, whilst telling them your opinion differs from theirs. In these situations, you can use the following process.

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Four steps for resolving conflict

Conflict resolution is a process which aims to reduce disagreement. It takes time, but it reaps huge rewards.

The benefits of resolving conflict include better team dynamics, less personal stress and increased creativity. The aim of conflict resolution is to create fair solutions, which everyone can agree to. There are five steps involved in resolving conflict.

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Handling family conflict at Christmas

Christmas gatherings can be tough. Old relationship dynamics can set in and conflict can emerge.

If you want to experience less stress during your family’s Christmas celebrations, you need to abandon old behaviour patterns. Here are three ways to do this.

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Stop people talking over you

Do people talk over you at meetings or in important situations? Regain your voice and be heard!

Being talked over is annoying and frustrating. People do it for different reasons. Some people care so much about the topic under discussion that they forget to wait for your input. Others are just egocentric. You need to recognise the difference. People who are enthusiastic will only talk over you occasionally. Those who are egocentric will make it a habit. They are insecure – being the centre of attention compensates for their own inadequacies.

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How to communicate your boundaries

Keeping your personal boundaries intact is the key to maintaining your psychological safety. Here’s how to assert your boundaries when someone invades them.

Your boundaries define the ‘space’ you place between yourself and others – both physically and psychologically. Healthy boundaries help you make appropriate contact with others. Unhealthy boundaries can create a sense of detachment or over-dependence on others.

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Stop verbal abuse now

Verbally abusive people use tactics like shouting, swearing, mocking, sarcasm and veiled threats. Their aim is to intimidate and control you.

You don’t have to put up with verbal abuse. Whether it happens at work or at home, there is something you can do about it. Here are four steps to take when you’re the target of verbal abuse.

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Workplace mobbing

Chris and Ross are furious. They’ve both applied for the team leader role. But the job has been given to Brett.

Brett is the youngest member of the team. To Chris and Ross, this means he wasn’t entitled to a promotion. Rather than expressing their anger openly, they resort to passive aggressive tactics. These include deliberately making mistakes, pretending to forget important deadlines and muttering ‘care factor zero’ when Brett talks to the team.

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