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Employees who worry about what their co-workers are saying behind their back aren't making many friends at the office. In fact, new research has found that workers who worry about being the subject of office gossip often invite negative behavior upon themselves.
Not surprisingly, this happens because paranoid workers often seek to affirm their position within an organization, which in turn, causes co-workers to resent them. Not only do workers resent them, but the offending workers also increase the likelihood that they will be rejected.
"It may be best to ignore impulses that tell you that you’re the victim of office politics,” said lead author Karl Aquino, a professor at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business. "However, our research shows employees should do their best to keep their interactions positive and ignore the negative. As the expression goes, kill them with kindness."
While workers may harm themselves by acting on suspicions, the research found that this kind of behavior is not abnormal because social acceptance in the workplace tends to lead to higher salaries and greater power in the workplace. That, in turn, fuels the worry that workers feel about how they are perceived within the organization.
This research was published in a recent edition of the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.