Health and Harmony in the Tribal Workplace: The Power of your Words

When it comes to internal customer service, the most common complaint is negativity in the workplace. Negativity can show up as gossip, complaining, blaming, backstabbing or jealousy affecting morale and productivity.

Words carry tremendous energy. They can generate joy or inflict long-lasting and devastating pain. 

Gossip is Bullying

Grace Marks

Gossip is a form of bullying. It is an act of intimidation to have power over another and occurs in all age groups and cultures. The Workplace Bullying Institute estimates that 53.5 million Americans report being bullied at work—that is roughly the combined populations of Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah. Workplace bullies are insecure, quick to jealousy, and generally unhappy with themselves. By uniting with others to share secrets about someone’s misfortune, they create a false sense of intimacy and feel better about themselves.

Non-verbal messages are a passive way to bully. Consider the rolling of the eyes, scanning someone up and down, sighing, sneering, or being ignored or whispered about. The best move is to stop gossip before it starts. An innocent, Here’s what I heard about … may destroy a reputation. If you find yourself in a gossip situation, change the subject, keep quiet, walk away from the conversation, say you’re uncomfortable gossiping, or share something positive about the person who is the subject of the gossip.

Complain—Get More of the Same

Constant complaining also has negative side effects. Most of us complain all day every day. The average person complains between 15 and 30 times per day. We complain because it makes us feel better (in the short term) and because others can agree about how we feel and how hard we have it. You may temporarily feel better after going on and on about how you have been wronged, victimized, used, manipulated, or disrespected. Despite the initial relief, complaining is like a virus eating away any sort of happiness, responsibility and purpose in your life. Complaining usually leads to greater unhappiness, negative thinking and relationship problems. Since words have energy, complaining usually gets you more of what you are complaining about.

Steps Towards Change

The first step is to increase your awareness of your behavior and words. If you are a gossiper, recognize the power of your words and find the courage to speak up positively. You can be a role model to others. If you are a complainer, direct your conscious focus on what you are grateful for and think of possible solutions. Sometimes you do have to accept a situation as something you cannot change and recognize the destructiveness in complaining about it. If you find yourself saying negative things out of jealousy, focus on your unique qualities and talents.

Putting an end to negatively and bullying begins with each of us—how we think and speak about ourselves and others. Pay closer attention to negative self-talk and judgments. Cancel or delete them in your mind whenever they surface and replace with something positive. Pat yourself on the back more often rather than being self-critical.

Choose More Healing Words

Use more healing words such as thank you, I appreciate you, I’m sorry, good work, or well done. Offer assurance to those who are anxious or troubled. Remind your family and friends they are loved, respected and valued. 

Healing words can bring comfort, inner peace, and enhance overall well-being. They can improve your mood which has a positive effect on all those around you.

Grace Marks, MPH, CPC is a certified life coach, motivational speaker and holistic stress management instructor with Native Empowerment: Solutions for Health and Harmony providing customized training programs for tribal organizations and businesses. Visit www.nativeempowerment.com.