I work in a relatively small company where the rumor mill is getting the best of me. I am the director of a predominately female staff and lies have been circulating around the office about me being romantically involved with one of my direct reports.
While my co workers and I socialize outside the office, I have never entertained the thought of dating a subordinate. Inner office dating is frowned upon at my company and although this gossip has no truth whatsoever, I feel like it is affecting my reputation at work.
Not only are people constantly talking behind my back, but this noise has made it incredibly difficult for my team. I feel like I am losing the respect of my colleagues and superiors and fear this situation will affect my growth at this company. I am very happy in my current position and need some advice to put an end to this gossip grapevine. Pissed off Paul
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Dear Pissed off Paul
Hmm, this sounds fishy. Do you have any idea how a rumor like this may have gotten started? Since this is relatively out of your control, try your best to keep your head held high and to not let the office gossip get the best of you.
Are you being over paranoid that people are talking behind your back? If you see that your team's work and attitude is being affected by the rumor mill then talk to them in your next touch base meeting, but be prepared to answer any questions they might have for you.
The first thing I would do is put a stop to socializing outside the office ASAP. Since you are their superior, there is no reason to put yourself in a compromising situation. Try to brush the background noise off your shoulder and chock their story telling up to poor taste.