by Lori Crete
I was recently referred a client by another esthetician. During the consultation with the new client, I asked her several questions. Here’s the one that inspired me to write this article:
Question: How did you find Beth (the referring esthetician) and what did you love about the way she provided service?
Answer: I went searching for Beth because I got tired of the gossipy esthetician I had been going to. She talked about everyone in town and I knew she was most likely talking about me with her other clients. I loved going to Beth because listening to my needs was more important to her.
It’s a fact that gossip is abundant in the beauty industry and it’s hard to avoid. But the truth is that while investing time and energy into gossip is easy, the ROI (return on investment) is never a fruitful payoff. Here are seven things I have learned about gossip in the workplace from the beauty industry.
1. Workplace gossip is virtually everywhere and hard to avoid.
Think for a moment and I bet a “gossipy” individual comes to mind. We all know one. The question is, do you engage with or avoid them? Or are you the gossipy individual?
2. Gossiping does not position you as a professional
Even when others engage you in gossip, they will often lose an element of trust within your relationship and, chances are, they will tell others that you are a gossip. As Irvin Himmel once said, “No one has ever made himself great by showing how small someone else is.”
3. Workplace gossip is a distraction
When you’re focused on someone else’s life choices, you’re not thinking about your client, your business, or the important parts of your life.
4. Workplace gossip doesn't serve anyone
Research by Stanford University’s Rob Willer shows that we take negative gossip about others seriously because we view it as useful information that can protect us.1 The result is that when someone spreads gossip about you, it’s difficult to shake off that reputation. This can damage your personal and professional opportunities.
5. There's a difference between listening and engaging
When you engage in gossip, you’re contributing to something that could ruin another person’s reputation. Listen if you must, and then either avoid participating in it or deflect it.
6. Avoiding workplace gossip builds trust
In the beauty industry, our success is built on trust. We put hot wax and chemicals on faces! Hair salon gossip can quickly disintegrate that precious trust if your clients wonder what you say about them.
7. What goes around comes around
It’s really easy to get caught up in gossip when it’s about others, and really hard to let go of when it’s directed at you. Avoid getting into the fray.
The next time workplace gossip shows up, quickly ask yourself, “Is this the best way to spend my time?” If the answer is no (and I bet it will be), simply excuse yourself from the conversation and instead pick up the phone and text a client you haven’t seen in a while and tell them how much they are missed.
Note 1. Emma M. Sappala, PsychologyToday.com, “8 Things to Do If You’re the Target of Hurtful Gossip,” accessed July 2017, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ feeling-it/201612/8-things-do-ifyoure- the-target-hurtful-gossip.