It is strictly advised by many that you should refrain from office gossip. But sometimes you may fall into the trap, and may be seen amidst a group of colleagues talking about a co-worker’s breakup or why the boss is in such a bad mood. And when you are caught red-handed it might seem difficult to escape the situation with your image intact.
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Here are some things you can do when you are caught gossiping in the office.
Honesty Might Save You
There are very few things that are more nerve-wracking than having your boss overhearing you trash talk about another colleague. If you think that he or she may not have noticed, then there is no point in bringing your transgression into spotlight. But if you know that they have heard it, then it is better to come clean and apologise. It is better to speak in person, that mail about it. Keep the conversation casual, and though it may get awkward, the boss may actually appreciate your initiative and honesty.
Apologise If Caught By The Colleague
There is something more cringe-worthy than being caught by the boss, and that is being caught by the colleague you were gossiping about. The best thing you can do is apologise and admit that you should not taking part in that conversation. If you are too dumb-struck to say this immediately, follow up later. But it is important to let the person that you realise your mistake. This might actually save your relationship with the concerned person.
According to Mohit Johari, Solution Architect at Accelya Solutions, “If you do get caught complaining about a certain thing, take a moment. Be honest to yourself and calmly speak out about what has been bothering you. If said in a calm and composed tone, no matter wrong or right, you will always sound genuine and end up setting a good impression post incident.”
Know When To Stop
Gossiping at work can ruin your credibility and work image. So, when you are caught at it, even by another colleague, you need to be cautious and stop it. Much like any other mistake in the workplace, it is better to take ownership of your slipup, rather than trying to sweep it under the rug entirely. And the best thing is to stop the bad habit of gossiping at work.
Those strategies should hopefully help you repair your reputation after you are caught engaging in the malice of an office grape vine.