Not sure how to ask your boss for a raise or quiet your chatty co-worker? Etiquette expert Arden Clise is here to answer your awkward workplace questions

Q: I overheard my colleagues gossiping about my work performance. Should I confront them, and, if so, how?

How you respond to gossip depends on the situation. Is this the first time you’ve heard them talk about you? If so, and if what they are saying is not true, you might want to let it go and let your good work speak for itself. But, if there is some truth to the gossip, or it seems it is ongoing, then you will want to confront the lead gossiper. Find a private moment to take this person aside and let him know you heard him talking with others about your work performance. Ask what his concerns are about your work. If you are guilty as charged, take responsibility. And, if your work has impacted this person, apologize. Then, clearly and confidently request that if he has problems with your work performance in the future that he share his concerns with you directly, rather than talking behind your back. Focus on his behavior, and don’t attack him as a person. Avoid getting defensive or making him wrong, both of which will only fuel more gossip. End the meeting on a positive note, and then let it go. Rumor-mongers often spread gossip to make themselves feel better. Try not to personalize it.

 


Arden Clise is a business-etiquette trainer and author of Spinach in Your Boss’s Teeth: Essential Etiquette for Professional Success. Visit her website at cliseetiquette.com.