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Your team is talking about you behind your back. Why this may be a good thing

Workplace gossip is to be expected, but how can managers leverage it to improve leadership and company cohesion?


It’s never fun to find out people are bad-mouthing you in secret. But when you learn it’s your team privately attacking you, there are severe risks to your ability to lead them effectively. Also, confronting team members on hearsay can create further damage to your relationships with them.

It’s not a crime to gossip about one’s boss or criticize them behind their back. In truth, most conversations can be defined in some way as gossip. So punishing them for merely expressing themselves is neither a constructive nor fair reaction. And any defensiveness will push them further away. When this happens, you start to become a leader without a following.

Despite these challenges, it is possible to navigate this dilemma in a way that not only contains the fractures between you and your team but even starts to improve mutual trust. Consider adopting these strategies to regain your effectiveness in leading those members of your team who are not outwardly voicing their thoughts on you.


Initially, you may want to confront your team, not just on their grievances but also on their unwillingness to come to you directly. Instead, take a step back and engage in some deep introspection on how well you encourage your team to speak up.

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