Is your workplace about as peaceful as the Middle East? Do you find you have to duck down in your cubicle to avoid the flying missiles and shrapnel of rumors and gossip? Infighting can cause a lot of work-related stress.
When it comes to negativity and office politics, you can’t single-handedly eliminate them, but you can limit your involvement. Here are two suggestions:
Avoid gossip. There are two ways people participate in gossip. One is by talking and the other is by listening. Even if you never spread rumors, if your face lights up and you eagerly listen to every story, you are participating in gossip. Once people realize that you don’t participate–by what you say or what you listen to–they will stop coming to you with the gossip.
Be neutral. Do people try to get you on one side or the other in office politics? Your wisest move is to be neutral. You might even say, “Thanks for sharing your opinion with me, but I’m going to choose to be Switzerland on this one.” Once people realize that you are neutral, they will probably stop pestering you to take a position.
Work can be stressful enough without participating in the drama that is sometimes part of the culture. A wise person once said, “We teach people how to treat us.” Your consistent abstention from gossip, negativity and office politics teaches people where you stand and offers everyone a more constructive alternative than infighting.