When I go into an organization to do coaching, one of the first things I address is the problem of gossip.

To be clear, I’m not talking about which-celebrity-melted-down-today kind of gossip. I’m talking about the other 99 percent—the kind that tends to be about real, upsetting issues. Your coworker just took credit for something you did. Your boss dressed you down in a meeting. 

The problem is, instead of dealing with whatever is upsetting us directly, most of us go underground and get others to buy into our theory that a coworker (or a boss) is a jerk. Which is manipulative and also doesn’t solve the problem.

Getting rid of this kind of workplace gossip is essential to building an honest culture. And when a company has an honest culture, productivity skyrockets and employees feel loyal because they can say what they need to say.

For me, gossip is criminal. It’s a coward’s way of dealing with a difficult issue, instead of facing it straight on. Plus, gossip saps everyone’s energy. Once you stop talking about how so-and-so offended you or screwed something up, and you have the integrity and audacity to deal with the relationship head on, you’ll be shocked at how much more energy—and time—you have to actually get stuff done.

 So make a promise to yourself, starting today. No more gossiping at work—dishing it and listening to it. (To learn how to have those hard conversations, check out my most recent show HERE.