Many years ago as a “newbie” in the professional world, I went to lunch with my boss and a co-worker. During that lunch, my supervisor and my co-worker spent most of the conversation talking negatively about all of the other employees in our division. Even at my young age, I sat there stunned by the gossip and negative talk. The thought that kept going through my head during this lunch was “What do they say about me when I am not around?” What I learned from this lunch was two-fold; first, don’t say anything negative around my coworkers and secondly, that negative talk about others only harms communication and trust in the long run.

My former boss and coworker were far from impeccable with their words that day and as a result they harmed the trust and relationship that I was building as a new employee. Being impeccable with your communication and your words means that you realize your words can build up or tear down. For example, when you need to discipline your employees, think about how you view the discipline. Is it a way for you to retaliate to your employee because they did not perform as expected, or rather do you view the discipline as providing your employee a path to success? The latter mindset leads you to approach the discipline as a building exercise rather than the tearing down of an individual.

What does Impeccable Communication really mean? The word “impeccable” is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as being “in accordance with the highest standards of propriety; faultless.” This meaning of impeccable communication translates to us as managers as a need to hold our words (written, verbal, and non-verbal) to the highest standards of quality. This requirement is achieved by our understanding that our words have power.

While no one is perfect with their words and we all have faltered with negative talk, we must constantly improve our communication skills by seeking and eliminating negative and harmful words. A good leader seeks to inspire and promote wellbeing in the workplace, not tear down and manage by fear. Managing by fear results in a leader who doesn’t have enough information, is unapproachable, and as a result, has poor performing employees.

My challenge to you this week is to try to eliminate negative words and gossip from your communication for one week and see how it will impact those around you.