It is bound to happen to you sometime within your career, or perhaps even, more than once: You are the butt of some office gossip or joke! In addition, regardless of the company or industry that you work in or the stage of your career, every company will have its’ own ‘grapevine.’
What is a grapevine you ask? A grapevine is that unofficial, whispered secrets and hush-hush conversations about people and events within the organization. This ‘grapevine’ might even include you!
Dealing with office gossip and jokes
If you are the focus of unfounded gossip or joke – maintain your professionalism and find out the source.
Stay calm and confront the person. Get intrigued with why they did it. This usually disarms the person and they apologise or give their reasons for doing so.
With practical jokes, take these in your stride. Laughter and joyfulness is a good stimulant for creativity and innovation. Also get interested at how they managed to pull off the joke with you. Doing so shows to the person that you are mature enough to joke and laugh about yourself and that will usually stop them from targeting you for any future office joke.
However, with practical jokes – make sure you get even – in a nice way of course!
Dealing with the office grapevine
The office grapevine is both good and bad.
- Bad: As it is impossible to dismantle; discourage, or get rid of. Every company has its own form of office grapevine.
- Good: This informal communications network is usually over 80% accurate. So don’t tune out; It is better to tune in!
Listening to the grapevine can help uncover poor attitudes; sabotaging managers; the real customer service complaints and a host of other problems.
You can also use the office grapevine to your advantage! If you are having a meeting with a work colleague that you have not met previously and would like to know how to prepare for that manager – seek some advice from the office grapevine!
Ask people about this person’s style of management; how they like their meetings to be conducted; what type of personality they have – from sourcing this information from the office grapevine, you can prepare adequately for your meeting!
This is why most boards of directors will have their, ‘ears to the ground!” There is great value in paying attention to the grapevine.
Whilst office gossip; grapevine news and practical jokes are the norm, remember not to lose focus.
Ultimately, you have been employed to do a job and deliver on projects allocated to you.
Whilst practical jokes and having and in-depth knowledge of your co-workers are fun, entertaining and educational, you will ultimately be measured on your success in your job function.
So, in summary always make sure that you deliver on your work output and balance the time spent on office pranks and gossip!