It’s a guilty pleasure to gossip and complain. We’ve all done it.
“Manny is at it again. He cut me off mid-sentence during the meeting today. That guy is impossible.”
The words just kind of slip out of us after the fact because we are frustrated or angry. Who can blame us? Talking about someone else's bad behavior makes us feel better...at first. We become puffed up. We feel virtuous and justified.
We get to be right and the other person is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Borrowing from Shakespeare, gossip is full of sound and fury but signifies nothing. It’s worse than a waste of time; it will keep you stuck.
I want you to think of gossip as a trap.
Gossip is a way of relieving the stress of something you don’t like,
without having to exercise the courage to deal with it
We all do a lot of complaining, but we hesitate to have real and honest conversations day to day to make things better. Gossip and complaints create a false sense that we are standing up for ourselves.
You already know that words are powerful. That’s why you read this blog.
The same holds true for public speaking. Never ever speak badly of someone else in front of the room. It will backfire on your every time.
Confront bad behavior in private
(It’s important to note that I’m not talking about abusive situations at work. In those cases, please get help from HR right away.)
I am talking about the complaining we do about other people when we are avoiding a difficult conversation.
Remember, you diminish yourself and your effectiveness when you gossip or complain about someone in the office. You probably know this, but it’s helpful to be reminded from time to time that gossip is the easy way out. It's as harmful to you as it is to the colleagues you complain about.
A polished speaker avoids the gossip trap
Today I invite you to look at the people who are source of aggravation for you. When you do, you’ll likely find a rich opportunity to have a meaningful conversation that you’ve been putting off, and maybe create a new possibility for a better relationship.