How many times have you had someone approach you to complain about something someone else has done? How many times have you engaged in it? Maybe you’re the one who instigated it. Whether it’s a business, a marriage or any other organization, gossip and backbiting is destructive. If you want a surefire recipe for disaster, simply create, foster and allow an atmosphere of discontentment and negativity. It will do the job with minimal effort from you, the leader. Businesses, marriages and organizations are all made up of people, therefore discontentment and discord will certainly arise. In these situations, a good rule of thumb is this: if it’s worth saying, it’s worth saying to the right person. If you are in a leadership position and an employee is not meeting your standards, be mature enough to approach that person and have a frank conversation about the shortcoming. Give them specifics on what needs improvement and give solutions on how to fix it. Talking about that person behind their back to others will certainly not fix the problem and will only sour others toward that person, creating more unrest. Remember, the leader sets the tone for the organization. When those in your organization see that you are more interested in helping them become better than you are in running them down to others, they often will strive to be better themselves. This is not to say that you can always “encourage” someone out of bad habits and poor performance. Sometimes, certain situations and/or repeated failures bring harsher consequences. But, before you complain and gossip about others, ask yourself, “will my conversation with this person do anything to make this situation or this individual better?” Because, if it’s worth saying, it’s worth saying to the right person.