7 Topics Everyone Should Avoid Discussing at Work

Gossip, rumors and workplace busybodies: How to promote positive co-worker communication
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Human Resources

7 topics everyone should avoid discussing at work

You know what the most unnatural thing in the world is? Spending five days a week, eight hours a day, in a place where there's serious drama going on—and not being totally free to talk about it.

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But career success involves managing the image that you present at work. To be viewed in a professional light, you must give some thought to the way you are perceived. Speaker and columnist Marie G. McIntyre, Ph.D., urges you to avoid these seven traps:

1. Using co-workers as therapists. Even friendly colleagues get tired of listening to romantic troubles or the details of a nasty divorce. If your personal problems are broadcast over the office grapevine, it could have a negative effect on your future.

2. Dangerous flirting. Some people do find love at the office, but a flirtation with your boss or married colleague is a surefire recipe for trouble. Ditto for quickie romantic encounters at the office party or on a business trip, because those partners will still be in a nearby cubicle on Monday. And if you're a manager, flirty comments can get you charged with sexual harassment.

3. Complaints about your boss. If you make negative feelings about your boss widely known, the news will get back to him or her eventually, making your boss situation even worse. And you may get labeled by management as "difficult to work with."

Imagine your office without tattletales, drama queens, whiners and bullies.

Join us Feb. 21 to find out how to make that become a reality.

4. Job search activities. Smart people never mention their job search plans to anyone at work, because employees who publicly announce their desire to leave may find themselves with no job at all. Word spreads quickly, so your boss may very well hear the news.

5. Open political plotting. Almost everyone gives some thought to political strategy at work. But open political plotting is counterproductive. If you're going to play politics, at least do it well! Keep plans and strategies to yourself.

6. Hot button topics. Unless you know that the other person shares your views, avoid subjects like religion and politics. Although spirited debates can be fun, these differences often lead to heated arguments that damage relationships.

7. Too much information. No one needs to hear details of your abdominal surgery, your bout with nausea, your sexual positions, or your Spandex briefs. Never share information that would conjure up an unprofessional image of yourself.

Copyright Marie G. McIntyre, yourofficecoach.com

Stop discussing "attitude" and start focusing on behavior

Join us Feb. 21 for Gossip, Rumors & Workplace Busybodies: How to Promote Positive Co-worker Communication. You'll learn:
  • How managers may inadvertently encourage negative behaviors
  • The best way to deal with tattletales, drama queens, whiners and bullies
  • How you can make gossip and the grapevine work in your favor
  • Marie McIntyreSix rules for dealing with the problem of negative talkers
  • The power of high expectations, sincere praise and clear consequences
  • A simple roadmap for conducting an effective two-way coaching discussion
  • Techniques to use when employees blame others or deny responsibility
  • What to do when coaching doesn't work.
Register now!
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