My department is small and there is a lot of talking behind each others' backs. It happens everyday and it's sickening to me. It's to the point I can't stand it. I feel stuck in the middle of it all because I'm the one others tell everything to. How can I tell them to be grown-ups and talk to each other instead of about each other?
This is not OK. Badmouthing lowers productivity and creates distrust. By listening, however, you actually become part of the problem. When they tell you information that is "badmouthing" in nature, in a kind voice, say, "It might be helpful if you could discuss this with so and so directly. I will tell them the same thing if they speak with me about problems they are having with you." Then go on about your work.