If you work in an office that has more than one person, chances are that there is a bit of gossip from time to time. It could be your office’s national past-time. Gathering around the water cooler and talking about other people in the organization. And… chances are that the talk is less than flattering to the person being discussed. And… chances are that the things that people talk about, are things that you would never say to the person’s face.
What is it about human beings that we get such satisfaction out ‘trash talking’ another person? It is common practice in professional sports. I am sure that it drives a huge percentage of the traffic on telephone lines and cellular airwaves.
However, here’s the leadership angle on the topic… Trash talking is, in my opinion, the top (lack of integrity is tied for the honour) Personal Brand Destroyer in leadership. Your brand is completely and totally eroded when you jump onto the party bus of gossip, rumours and negative talking about other people in your organization, a customer, a partner, etc..
Participating in the game also keeps you locked firmly in the land of mediocrity. It says nothing about one’s emotional intelligence – which I prefer to call “Practical Intelligence.” And, it completely undermines the trust and respect that you receive as a leader.
OK, enough of the rant. Here’s something that can elevate your star to the highest level! Are you ready?
Start talking good about other people. At the coffee machine, say something like; “Did you hear about Janice? She is really good! She did such an amazing job on the project, that I want to have her on every new change team!” When people around the coffee machine hear this kind of talk, they will move on really quickly (and get back to work). They will also not involve you anymore in the crap talk that they waste their time at!
Or even go face-to-face with someone (what a novel concept!) and tell them; “Congratulations on the new contract! You did an amazing job!” Catching people doing things right is the Hallmark of Leadership Greatness!
Robert Murray is a Key Note Speaker, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”