Successful people are impeccable with their words. How we speak to each other and about each other determines the quality of our relationships, and relationships are the key to success.

I learned this principle when entering a new district. One colleague befriended me quickly, and I found her to be very warm and inviting – helpful and open. On an inservice day when all faculty were gathering for beginning-of-the-year informational meetings, another colleague approached me with a disparaging “warning” from the assistant principal that I might want to “stay away” from the colleague who had previously shown me much welcome and support. From that day on, I felt distrust toward the administrator and the message deliverer, a fellow teacher, from whom my first impression was negativity toward another faculty member.  I never quite got my bearings for the integrity of leadership in that district. I felt that if I was friendly and had a good relationship with the colleague, I’d be seen in the same light administration saw her, but if I didn’t follow my heart and be kind and loving, I’d be going against my own integrity of how I want to treat others.What I learned over the next few years working in that environment was that gossip is a dividing force. And I know that what Jack Canfield says below is true:

When you speak ill of another to anyone else, it may temporarily bond you to that other person, but it creates a lasting impression in the other that you are a person who gossips negatively about others. That other person will always be wondering – even if unconsciously – when you will turn that verbal poison against them. It will erode the sense of deep trust in you.hqdefault

The biggest cost of gossiping, according to Canfield, is that is robs you of a clear mind. He says gossiping is like releasing a computer virus into your mind, causing it to think a little less clearly every time.

images-1Words have the power to build up, edify, strengthen, and empower, or they can tear down, separate, reject, and be empty. If you want to be a leader who builds deep and lasting relationships and empowers others, gossip must be vanquished.

Here are Canfield’s practical ways to stop yourself and discourage others from gossiping:

  1. Change the subject
  2. Say something positive about the other person
  3. Walk away from the conversation
  4. Keep quiet
  5. Clearly state that you no longer want to participate in gossiping about others

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