What would you do about a gossiping boss?

While I’m away on vacation (actually I’m spending most of it renovating our new apartment) could you please take a moment to read this question from a reader and give her your 2 cents? Thanks!

Hi I would appreciate some advice from anyone…really..PLEASE!

My company just got a new manager, my old manager was bad..he was verbally abusive but he had his good sides in his organizational skills and neatness. When I found out there would be a new manager I became excited as I wouldn’t get yelled at anymore.

When she got hired I became assistant manager. I became even more excited because I felt like I could finally exert my potential and really help out in the workplace.

Well that quickly became crap when a girl that hates me befriended my boss. My boss quickly began gossiping about me to my coworkers, asking them to not tell me anything, saying that I want her job, saying that I’m the one who gossips about her and…I give her attitude. Hearing about this was harsh because I tried to be as nicest and as helpful as possible. I tried backing off and letting her take the reigns so she wouldn’t feel threatened by me (I have more experience in the facility). .but nothing has worked, she seems to be gossiping MORE now.

The people that I have asked for advice tell me to let it go and that my hard work will shine through in the end and she will see that I”m not a bad person and all the rumors she hears will all be disproven.

I don’t know what to do, I don’t now if I should approach her or how to solve the problem. It’s become quite stressful. My company doesn’t really work closely with HR and its an “at will” company so she is pretty much able to “can” my ass if she wants to. I hate it when people talk about me and it’s been hard holding back.

Can anyone give me helpful advice. PLEASE??

16 thoughts on “What would you do about a gossiping boss?”

  1. Could make a general note about it not direct just talk about gossip on the workplace and how it is wrong.
    Some bosses could apriciate it if you said it direct to him but some can’t, so I am not saying you should say it directly.

  2. My advice would be to ask the manager if she could set aside some time for you to talk with her. If she agrees to the meeting, I would explain to her that you feel as if there is some contention between the two of you and that you would like to get to the bottom of it. Hopefully, she will give you the opportunity to explain what you feel is happening and that will open the floor towards working on reconciling your professional relationship. A good manager will take the time to speak with an employee that has concerns. If having a meeting doesn’t work, then I would go to HR and explain what is happening to them. I wouldn’t continue ignoring the situation as it seems to only be escalating. I would nip it in the bud and see if things improve after speaking directly with her.

  3. I do not know which country you work in, so my advice might be impossible in your culture.
    But I would confront your boss. In private of course. And tell him/her in private what you have just said here and that you do not like this. Afterward I would, although this is risky, would put the conversation down on paper and send it to him, a copy anyways. That way you create a paper trail.
    If the behavior continues, I would go over his/her head and put your complaints to the boss of your boss.
    If your company has a confidentiality person with whom you can share your concerns, please talk to that person as well.

    Good luck. I hope you can improve your situation.

  4. Hi.
    You need to rise above this. Let your work do the talking. Make sure that you only talk about people when you have something positive to say. Make sure you praise good behavor.

    Sounds like your company have serious culture issuses. Is there anyway you can contribute in turning this around?

    You could benefit from reading this: http://www.nevermindthemanager.com/2010/08/start-with-you-the-power-to-change-everything/

    Do not start complaining about your boss, as this will find it’s way back. Talk about what is good, focus on the positive and change will come.

    If it don’t be strong and trust your knowledge, it might be well worth for another company.

    A lot of leaders or should I say managers are afraid of other people with ambitions, this is sad, but it is not your fault, you have an unsecure leader.

    It might be good to talk to her. Get a regular meeting talking about expectations, what she wants from you. How can you work better togheter. What do you need to work better togheter. Talk and keep the focus on the job. In a lot of situations it is all down to the importance of getting to know each other.

    Good luck

  5. Hi,

    set yourself free and find a job where you are appreciated! Nobody is actually forcing you to work at such a place.

    All the best,


  6. Hi,
    Working for a boss who loves gossip is tough. I would advice you to continue your good work and not to listen to gossip and avoid gossip at all costs. Get as much exposure as you can. Don’t let her take the reins as this will reduce your effectiveness and give more ammunition for people who don’t like you.
    If you can get a few people on your side to support but don’t play politics. Just make sure you deliver. Most probably the girl that hates your guts is not competent and hence it will show when you perform. If everything fails, look for another job. Its not really worth the trouble. Acting as if you are afraid of losing the job doesn’t work. Sometimes boldness works and so does aggression. All depends on how competent your boss is. If she is not competent then she would need to rely on someone who is competent. There is not much of detail about the nature of your work.
    But good luck

  7. Leave. I hate to say this, but if your boss is doing this (and your stellar work is known to the higher ups anyway), then you work in a culture that tolerates gossip and all the productivity killing it inspires. Your best option is to find a new position and leave on your terms. As soon as possible. Think of it this way. YOU know you’re better than this — you also DESERVE better than this. Go and get it.

  8. You’ve gone from one type of workplace bully to another! Whatever you do, start to document all of the incidents with this new manager. Also keep any relevant emails or memos from her.

    Depending on how things work out, you may never have to show the documentation to anyone. But if she decides to escalate matters (or if you do) you’ll be glad you have evidence documenting how her behaviour has been unfair and unfounded.

  9. This sounds like a horrible situation to be in. I think there are three things that you can do concurrently to take care of yourself:

    1. Talk to your boss. If you can pull her aside and speak to her privately and express your concerns, it could help. I think the most important thing is to stay neutral (rather than confrontational), and let her know why you’re worried and that you want to make the relationship between you work.

    2. As other people have mentioned, continue to work hard and keep your hands clean. Don’t let your boss and the co-worker you mentioned drag you down into the mud with them. Over time people will begin to see them for what they really are. After all, when someone gossips in the office, especially someone in management, other workers will inevitably begin to wonder what is being said about them when they’re not in the room.

    3. I would also recommend updating your resume and start looking for a new job. In the worst case scenario, options #1 and #2 don’t work out and you need to find a new position. It’s better to start looking now and get in touch with those old contacts, rather than wait until your job is completely unbearable and you have to take any position that comes along just to give yourself a break.

    If you can work on all three of these options simultaneously, one (or possibly all) will work out. Who knows –you may even end up with a better job or position as a result!

    Good luck!!

  10. It may not be the kind of news you will appreciate hearing, but here’s my best wisdom anyway.

    I’ve found that the world around me is a reflection of my inner state. Even when I’m not aware of what I’m putting out, it is still the biggest cause of what happens to me and how people treat me.

    So, I’ve found that the best way to have a happier life is to clear my own inner resentment, guilt, shame, aversion, fear, etc. Mostly it originated in childhood.

    When that is clear IN YOU, the world starts being a nicer, friendlier, more abundant place. Before that happens, you’re drawing toward you reflections of your own unresolved stuff.

    Now, I’ve found therapy to be a long, expensive and not-necessarily effective way to clear that stuff. I’ve tried many, many methods of clearing this stuff, because I realized some time I needed to, in order to be happy and healthy.

    The method I’ve found that works most easily – for me – is EFT tapping (Emotional Freedom Techniques). It looks ridiculous and seems unscientific, on first glance, but it can truly work to clear the inner issues that make us attract problems and problem-people into our lives.

    I have a website about it, but there are many, many others as well. Just google EFT or EFT tapping. Or check out my website: http://efttappingtechniques.com/

    One of the big pluses of using an inner method like this is that it returns to you, the responsibility for your life. It’s no longer other people’s fault.

  11. Unfortunately, you may not like my feedback. What I see is a *lot* of assumptions about what your boss is saying. It sounds like your colleagues are gossiping. Before you make a plan to talk with her, I’d think carefully about who has said what. I am a supervisor at my current workplace, and I am sure that some people think I have “befriended” someone that others don’t like. My “befriending” is actually counseling her to be a better employee.

    I’d also take a look at your own performance–you say that you have more experience at the facility. Does this mean that you don’t think she should be your supervisor? Are you resentful of her? Does this come across in your day-to-day dealings? Should she trust you?

    You wanted her not to jump to conclusions, but you’re doing the same. I think doing some self-examination is in order before you confront her. When you do eventually talk to her, be honest. “I’ve been hearing some rumors and i wanted to come to you because I care about my job and want to do well” is way better than talking about “taking the reigns” and feeling “threatened by me” and “can my ass.”

    Just my two cents from the other side.

  12. A few thoughts from my small mind.

    Set up a meeting and talk to her sincerely. I have seen with my life, the more sincere I am , I get an honest response from the other person.

    See if you can be yourself irrespective of the environment(ncluding your boss).

    There are 2 things that can happen

    1. we can be affected by the environment
    2. we can affect the environment

    if we are strong enough, then we will be changing the environment around us for good.

  13. I think this has been said in other responses, but you should have a meeting with your boss, but heavily prepare for the meeting. Bring examples of positive work you do to show your value and committment to the team and explain how the gossipping is not adding value to the organization. However, do be prepared for her to come back at you with some examples of negative performance. Be very prepared, but dont back off. Even if nothing seems to come from it immediately, she will know that you are not afraid to confront the situation. Continue doing the best job you can under the circumstances. Good luck!

  14. My boss has a big mouth and he cannot stop himself from making inappropriate comments about everyone. He’s been like that ever since I can remember. He used to tell stories about other people that you can just ignore. One time, he created a rumor about this girl being pregnant because apparently he saw her with his boyfriend in an obgyn’s clinic. As expected, rumors spread like fire. The management found out about it and called her attention. Just to give you a background, our company is like a Catholic exclusive school for girls, unmarried women who get pregnant are asked to take a leave of absence with pay of course. It’s against the law, but who would complain if they get paid for staying home? Anyway, the girl was furious and filed a complaint against my boss. Now, my boss got reprimanded and was asked to take a leave. He got what he deserved!
    Anyway, my suggestion is that if you have enough proof about his gossiping, then take it up with your boss’ boss. If he’s on top of the food chain, then you either live with it or find a new job. =) Here are 10 Steps to a Successful Career Change in case you decided not to live with it.

  15. I suggest you talk to your boss. Tell her how you feel about what’s happening. If she’s professional, she will listen to you and stop the gossip immediately. who knows maybe she will apologize and you can start all over.

  16. And if you’re one that have suffered because of the “Gossip Monster” here’s the perfect song-share entitled “Stand”. Link Below

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