Destructive workplace words can kill morale, team culture, increase distrust and shut down performance and loyalty.

How often as a kid do you remember your mother saying,  If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” The power of being impeccable with your words is massive in the workplace!

Recently my two sons aged 15 (Harrison) and 13 (Will) were bickering and demonstrating a deep competitiveness between them. My 15 year old son in Year 9 said, “Mum, kids in my year are saying that Will (year 7) is a show off!” I quickly asked my older son, “So what did you say in reply to them about that comment?”  My older son replied, I said to them that I agree!” My instant response was to advise them that “You are brothers! You need to defend each other and never to support criticism of each other from others,”  I advised them that a better response would have been, “We are brothers and we all have our strengths and weaknesses.”

In the workplace it is so common for people to vent and so easy for people to support ill sentiment, even without shared experience. Be aware of the destruction that passive acceptance of workplace slander and criticism of others can create in the workplace!

I was once venting to my staff about the poor performance of an exiting employee unaware, as a leader, the impact this had on the existing team.  A few months later one of my staff spoke up and said, “When you spoke ill of that exiting employee, it made me lose trust in you as a leader. I wondered what you would say of me if I left.” This was a great lightbulb moment to me in managing others and reminded me of the power of being integral and impeccable in your words.

Critical, negative or slandering words are so damaging to morale and trust in the workplace. If you have a gripe do take it to the person you share this grief with, but first let a sunset go down before you do. Sometimes issues seem lesser after a night of reflection. Go direct to the person and don’t share your experience with others in the workplace. Make sure you are in a relaxed and open frame of mind when you share your concern and deeply look for compassion and consider things from the other person’s point of view. This is described as emotional intelligence and what is needed in the workplace to build trust and loyalty and a positive engaging workplace!

The Definition of Emotional intelligence is the capacity of individuals to recognise their own and others people’s emotions and discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately.

In the fast and furious workplace of today, people move often and own personal brands is critical – be aware of the power of your words and the impact it will have on your personal branding inside the workplace. Be emotionally intelligent with your talk!