Store Manager’s Badmouths Subordinates

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a boss’s demeaning gossip: How do you cope with a boss who gossips?

How do you deal with a store manager who disrespects you in private so nobody hears her? My boss does this to a lot of employees. How do you deal with this?

Signed,

Deal With It?


Answer:

Dear Deal With It?:

You get specific. By that I mean you talk to your boss about what specifically you have heard about yourself that she supposedly said or you heard her say about others. You ask her if it is true that she said. If she denies it, you say, “I hope you didn’t say that or anything like that. A boss should not gossip about any of us. If she has a complaint, she should talk to that person face to face. That’s what I want you to do with me and not to talk about me to anyone else. Can I count on that?”

This is a direct and forceful way to make a rule about communication between you and your boss. Will you do that, and also will you not complain about your boss and rather talk to her about what troubles you about her bossing? To gossip about your boss gossiping is exactly what you don’t want her to do about you. It’s human nature to get something off your chest that bothers you. That’s why you sent this question to Ask the Workplace Doctors. But it’s better to get specific that to generalize about disrespect and to get specific with the individual who you feel has shown that.

The constructive way to deal with a complaint is to offer to help solve it. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and is not that what you want?

William Gorden