Busybodies are the office gossips. Their primary goal in life seems to be uncovering information no one else has and passing it on. Busybodies need to feel important, and they get that feeling when they appear to know things before anyone else does. In the course of spreading rumors, busybodies often betray confidences and discuss sensitive information.
That’s not surprising — that’s just the sort of inside information they believe will enhance their image in certain people’s eyes. No secret is safe when a busybody is around. For that reason — and many more, including their effects on morale and productivity — you need to learn to identify the busybodies in your workplace and become skilled at dealing with them.
- busybodies actively pry — Busybodies aren’t simply people who talk about others. They actively pry into knowledge areas that are not their business. Busybodies dig up information and then present it to others in such a way that it makes them appear smarter for having known it.
- use gossip and rumor — Unlike legitimate distributors of information, busybodies don’t use proper channels for spreading around what they know. They can’t, because they aren’t supposed to be privy to the information in the first place. So to get the word out, they use the informal methods of gossip and rumor.
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