Gossip or necessary information?

What’s the line between gossip and necessary information?

I have a troublesome person on my office staff. I was talking to a colleague about her. She has also had problems with this person. We were exchanging stories and trying to figure out the hows and whys of this woman’s behavior. The two of us were honestly trying to come up with a solution as we discussed.

I truly didn’t want to gossip and felt myself consciously holding back, but I did need to vent.

Talking about someone behind their back is not always wrong but tricky. You know the intentions of your heart. If their behavior does not in anyway affect you, I would call it gossip. A priest told me venting is not necessarily a sin. I think it would be gossip if you are trying to get others to hate her or are talking about her dating life. Be careful though. Perhaps talk to a very neutral person on how to fix your interaction with this woman.

Actually, that’s not a bad idea–finding a neutral person to talk to. As it’s going, this particular young woman is digging herself into a hole she might not get out of.

Despite my accommodations to make her happy and feel valued in her job, she seems intent on making it known how unhappy she is, and is unwilling to show her coworkers the same understanding I have shown her.

Talk to your priest.

I think this comes under the heading “above your pay grade”.
If she’s a difficult and awkward as you say…everyone else has noticed it, including her superior.
Let them handle it, or you will get a reputation fro not being trusted.
God bless you. I know it’s very difficult to deal with an odd person at the office. :o

I am her superior.

In that case, you have every right, even an obligation, to counsel her.

Yes, but NOT to share her issues with others.

It’s always best when someone comes to you with a complaint about someone you manage is to say thank you, I will address this with the person.

To add your opinion and expand is not professional and is playing politics and gossiping.

The woman I was speaking with handles our payroll, personnel records, and is my confidant. I rely on her advice and counsel for a lot of things because I trust her judgement and experience.

For a little more clarification–I was primarily the one who was complaining.

You should “vent” in this situation, sole and wholly to Human Resources, and no one else.

That’s pretty much me.

It’s hard to describe the organization in detail while staying anonymous. I’m manager of a very small (< 30 employees) government office. Our overall organization is set up in a very decentralized way. In a practical sense, I’m responsible for everything from the computers to payroll to the actual work. There are people above my pay grade but in the end any problem I can’t handle myself would come back to me to handle.

In a sense, it’s as if I’m the pastor of a parish.

The government EEO programs offer little wiggle room for minor to medium levels of misbehavior or poor performance provided that the manager actually employs the EEO to address behavior issues. There are established procedures which if they are not completed by the employee in question lead to a P.I.P. (Personal Improvement Plan) which if failed leads to termination. To the level you exercise your managerial tools through the EEO, your work environment will be settled in that the staff will learn that you understand and use the tools. To the level that you do not, then well, you are setting yourself up to be the target of an EEO action. Been there, done that.

It’s fair that I follow up.

I spoke with her last Friday and told her in a firm but calm and reassuring way that her attitude was a problem and it needed to change. She seemed to almost agree with me.

The next day that she was at work she came in to my office first thing and apologized and said she would work to not let it happen again.


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