How to stop the office gossiper in their tracks

- Nearly every office has that person. We’re talking about the drama queen (or king) is always in the know about absolutely everything and everyone around them—spreading negative energy day in and day out in your workplace. 

The big question: how can you stop them from bringing you down without taking yourself down in the process? 

In her latest book, Stop Complainers and Energy Drainers, author Linda Swindling explains that that office gossipers are willing to do just about anything to get in the spotlight and stay there. What’s worse: they’ll happily take credit for your work. 

“They’re stirring up anything to get the focus on them,” Swindling said. 

They say they like the inside scoop, but it’s the negative energy that really gets a gossiper going. Swindling says they’re starved for the attention. You can’t ask them to be logical or rational or serious, and you can’t put them on the spot because they’re such master communicators that they will redirect the conversation in a completely different direction. 

So what can you do? 

Aside from sticking your fingers in your ears and not listening, you can do the opposite. Listen. Swindling says the gossiper wants to be acknowledged, so you should do that—and then acknowledge the negative ramifications. 

Another tactic Swindling recommends is to make sure their role in the office is publicized. If they’re on a team or committee, make them the communications director, if you will. That way, when they mess up, it’ll be public and they won’t be able to turn it around on you. 

Most of all-- don’t get lost in the drama! Try to keep the gossiper focused on problem-solving. When an issue comes up, turn it back on them to solve, and don’t let them take you down a winding road to nowhere. 

How do you know if you’re the person? Ask yourself if you only say negative things, or if you catch yourself trying to steal others’ thunder. 

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