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I'm currently working in a small team where my client can be seen as my line-manager, although he is not. My client and me are working for department X of the group Z. I'm contracting.

Another team, XY, that is belonging to the same group Z, and that we are working with , who can be seen as our supplier , has taken a hard stance on my client, mostly the manager of that team. He is saying out and loud that my client has done irresponsible things, that he took the product on a path that he should not have taken, creating a product that is unreliable.

Each meeting we are having, he shares valuable info with me but the issue is he cannot help himself but bad-mouth, gossiping.

I don't care about the grudge he is having, his doubt about the product and about my client.

I like when he shares the info but I don't care much about his ranting but in the same time knowing this type of manager as I've already seen this type before e.g gossiping, sneaky , self-important, I cannot stop his ranting as I still need him and he is the kind of guy who will definitely hold grudges against me if I tell him to stop his ranting.

I want to stop it because it bothers me and I feel there are things more personal at stakes that is going on, like rejections (don't ask what kind of rejections as I don't know and most of all, I don't want to know). It is not the first time I'm seeing this and I can spot a pattern when there is one, at least in human behavior.

And the meeting takes longer. One meeting, which take 30 mn can go up to 1h30 , not to mention the emotional drain it is taking on me.

What would be a good indirect way to stop his ranting, without being blunt and therefore vexing him?

  • Are you interested in stopping the ranting because it bothers you? Or because you're trying to avoid certain problems it may cause? Or some other reason? – dwizum May 3 at 14:18
  • Is the ranting causing the meetings to run longer than planned? – sf02 May 3 at 14:18
  • hi @dwizum, I want to stop it because it bothers me and I feel there are things more personal at stakes that is going on, like rejections (don't ask what kind of rejections as I don't know and most of all, I don't want to know). It is not the first time I'm seeing this and I can spot a pattern when there is one, at least in human behavior. – John Legas May 3 at 14:21
  • hi @sf02, yes.30 mn can go up to 1h30 , not to mention the emotional drain it is taking on me. – John Legas May 3 at 14:21
  • You might find this question useful: How can I tell people to get to the point? – David K May 3 at 14:35
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If this is a case of ranting and bad-mouthing, instead of an actual feedback, it's not the best idea to confront them. If they knew their suggestions/ opinions are of actual worth, instead of ranting, they would have taken the path of a formal feedback or bug or defect report or encouraged someone else to do so. Instead, they want to "talk about it" - indicating the point that they want to feel valued, instead of actually adding some value.

They keep on going this way, because they feel they are "achieving something" by continuing this. The best way out is to treat them in a way such that they don't feel that their "ranting" is needed / welcomed / valued. Stop paying attention, stop investing time in participating (contributing or listening) in the gossip.

Try to follow the time-bound approach for meetings, and walk out once the discussion is completed. Don't allow them a chance to continue the negative behavior. If they start the gossip in the middle of the meeting, ask questions that takes the focus back to the topic (which has the useful information which you mentioned).

Optionally, also do not welcome them for a next-to-water-cooler-chat, basically restrict the communication to them to only professional level.

Please note: Some of the times, rather than taking up the hassle of changing someone else, disconnecting from them to avoid the negativity is the better way to achieve the same outcome.

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    hi @sourav-ghosh, great idea to use time-bound approach. – John Legas May 3 at 14:35
  • Thanks @JohnLegas, also added couple more points to the answer. – Sourav Ghosh May 3 at 14:48

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