BLUF: I work in an open-plan office with members of a different team to me. They are quite vocal in their opinions about their boss in terms of him not keeping them 'in the picture', making unilateral decisions without 'knowing what he's doing' and generally sniping at him. They don't appear to have told him about his perceived behaviours. I really like their boss and although not a close friend I would gladly spend social time with him. Should I talk to him about it? (If it helps, I really don't like the chief sniper but they drag the others along with their sniping)

stephenbooth_uk's picture

Don't get involved.

Every team gripes about their boss sometimes, even if the boss is a really great boss, that's life. If you tell their boss then most likely you'll just get a reputation as a snitch amongst those who work around you ("Watch out, the management spy is here!") and as a suck up (and snitch) amongst those above you. If the chatter is directly impacting your work then ask them to keep it down but other than that just keep your head down. If the chatter becomes something that is directly actionable in and of itself, report it through your manager.

It would be different if you already had a relationship with their boss.


TomW's picture
Training Badge

A primary rule I've learned the hard way:
If you don't know the whole situation, stay out of it.

You are only hearing one side and were not present for any of the events.

Besides, when word gets out that you talked to him (and it will), are you ready to be the guy that everyone watches what they say around?

BJ_Marshall's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

If it's an open-office atmosphere, and these people are pretty vocal, I bet the boss already knows. Either there's an already-established snitch (glad it's not you), or things just get "overheard."

Horstman's law #6: There are no secrets.


jhack's picture

[quote="Fitch"]...their boss [is] not keeping them 'in the picture', making unilateral decisions without 'knowing what he's doing' [/quote]

You've just described every boss. :wink:


thaGUma's picture

I'm with BJ there are no secrets. The protagonist is vocal in an open plan office and could soon end up in trouble in any event.

You need to maintain professionalism. Simply moaning about being left out of the loop is pretty normal. If the sniping affects company business then there are wider issued of concern. The tone and content of statments have to be considered, whether they are within bounds of acceptability in working 'banter'. If not you have a duty to speak out without causing an internal split.

TomW has a good point - if you speak out it must be done properly to avoid accusations of causing trouble for the sake of it. you need to be clear that it is not their behaviour that is the problem - you cannot stand by and hear comments of that nature without involving their manager. After all, they may not feel able to discuss this with their manager, but you may have to if your work is being affected by the atmosphere created. They can chose whether to continue the sniping or wait until you are out of the room - you will be added to the sniping gallery of course.

Can you move cubicle? - be open with HR about the reason. Your stated dislike will only get worse if you continue to suffer in silence.


AManagerTool's picture

Their boss does not need to be rescued. He knows. Perhaps, he keeps them out of the loop because they seem to be blabbermouths. I wouldn't tell them anything either...LOL

Fitch's picture

Spoke to my wife about it as well tonight and she said the same as you folks.

I'll just keep my nose out of their business until it directly affects me.

US41's picture

Good call.

I agree with the above. Especially the part about their complaints describing every boss including myself. ROTFLMAO!

HMac's picture


Congratulations on not taking the bait and not falling into this trap. I'm sure it's the first of many tests - so stay on your toes!


Fitch's picture

Hugh - think you're right on that one - a guy who works with me has said about her... 'she makes the bullets for other people to fire'.

Very true...

sklosky's picture


From what I gather "their" boss is not doing O3s with them. I would recommend to you quasi-friend that he/she think about doing one on ones. I think that action is sincerely helpful.


thaGUma's picture

I still feel uneasy about not sticking my head above the parapet, your silence implicitly condones their attitude and can lead to a worstening of the atmosphere. I do have trouble keeping my mouth shut and this can have negative consequences . However I am not the one in the situation.
Let us know how it resolves itself.