The water cooler never seems to run dry in some offices. If workplace gossip has left some co-workers questioning your work ethic or character, here are a few tips on how to save your reputation:
Assess your behavior.
Is there any truth behind the rumors? Consider asking a trusted colleague for his/her opinion. Have you been a rude and harsh to your coworkers or have you been a lazy, inattentive manager? If so, apologize to everyone you offended and reassure them that you are trying to make amends.
Question their motives.
Are the gossipmongers just worried or jealous that you’re going to get a bigger raise or promotion? If there is absolutely no merit to their claims, ignore the whispers and continue kicking butt. If you are a manager, maybe your team has been overworked and is long overdue for a raise or time off.
Separate your business and personal lives.
Stop sharing details about your private life and complaining about your work, boss or colleagues. Chances are you’ve been confiding in the wrong person or people. If you’re having an office romance, keep it on the down-low even if your company allows fraternizing. Save the PDA for after hours.
Prove them wrong.
If people are complaining that you come in late or are a slacker, start coming to work early and being a workhorse. If they’re saying you’re kind of weird and antisocial, make an effort to be more outgoing.
Shoot the messenger.
Confronting the rumor mill face-to-face can often squash the gossip. Tell them that you have overheard this or that being said about you, ask for a reason why and then offer a brief explanation. Be polite, honest and sincere or you might add more fuel to the fire. If it’s a direct, aggressive character assault with zero merit, consider telling human resources.