EHotelier – Gossip, almost always, has a negative connotation. Yet, we continue to engage in it, both personally and professionally. While ‘small talk’ on a personal level is detrimental too, on a professional level can assume disastrous proportions.
The most common definition of gossip is that it is ‘idle chatter’ or ‘dirty linen’ and it is called so for a reason. We all know whose workshop an idle mind is and chatter does not even have the respectability of conversation. So why do we still plunge into it?
Wikipedia gives the following formal definition of gossip, “Gossip consists of casual or idle talk between friends. While ostensibly value neutral, the term often specifically refers to talk of scandal, slander, or schadenfreude relating to known associates of the participants, and discussed in an underhand or clandestine manner.”
Still, many of us get caught up in hushed conversations at the water cooler, unabashed and unsubstantiated chinwags in cubicles, and whispers that can entertain sometimes, but cause damage a whole lot more often.
Nonetheless, all of us, regardless of our stature and station in life, dip into the dirt-pool of baseless dialogues, bringing our personal value down and putting a blemish on our professional face.
“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people,” said Socrates.
So why do we engage in it? A study of human behavior and an honest introspection into our own psyche helps us attribute the following reasons that even seasoned professionals get caught up in gossip.
1. Misplaced priorities
Given the times we live and work in, we always have more on our plate than the time and tools to accomplish it. We subscribe to online lessons, enlist ourselves in management workshops, make diligent to-do-lists in our zeal to prioritize a zillion tasks that must be completed.
Still, at the faintest hint of inducement, we give in easily to lending an ear or adding our voice to the titter-tatter that may be going around.
We must not forget that professionals who are truly busy and result-oriented will never dither away precious opportunities by letting virtual or real-time chitchat get in the way. They would, rather, involve themselves in more useful and productive work.
“When of a gossiping circle it was asked, what are they doing? The answer was, Swapping lies,” Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
2. Misuse of time
We all lament about how little time we have to complete our important assignments, work on our essential chores and to create a healthy work-life balance. We chirp about 24 hours in a day being too little and marvel at those who continue to climb mountains and run marathons while still holding important positions in their professions.
And yet, in the next second, we will stop the work at hand to add our two cents to an ongoing mindless debate on our social media platforms or hang around designated corners in office to network through the unofficial and ungainly channels of scuttlebutt.
Professionals who are time-conscious and excel in time management will never allow this precious, constantly depleting resource to slip through their deft hold.
“The things most people want to know about are usually none of their business,” George Bernard Shaw.