Leaders Must Address Backbiting


Melanie said to Layla, her manager, “Don’t tell Josh I said it, but he spends a lot of time on social media.  And he blames us for not getting reports to him on time.”

Unfortunately, many members of Layla’s team seemed to be very critical of each other.  As a member summed up the situation, “I’ve never seen so much gossip and backbiting.  People appear to be friendly, but behind your back they are uncommonly critical.

Petty and immature behavior among team members is serious and should be addressed.  Consider these actions that Layla could have taken.

When Melanie complained about Josh, Layla should have said something like.  “Have you clearly communicated your concerns directly to Josh?  If not, I want you to talk to him.”

Melanie would likely say that she had and it did no good.  At that point, Layla should call Josh into the meeting and ask Melanie to explain to Josh her concerns.  And Josh would have his turn to respond.

Backbiting among team members is less when members know they will be forced to confront each other with their criticisms.