I'm part of a company development program, and we've had a new manager overseeing the group. He's solely in charge of the logistics and HR aspect, and doesn't assign us tasks or projects. However, he's in charge of giving us our annual employee performance ratings and salary increases.

One thing we've noticed right off the bat about the manager is he's tactless. He frequently strikes up conversation with the employees about subjects that are workplace inappropriate. He seems to speak without thinking, and this includes letting slip private information about other employees, including personal problems or family problems.

Main Problem: Following our recent employees' performance reviews, people have shared that the manager divulged private ratings information about others. This included:

  1. Showing one employee a spreadsheet of all the other employee's ratings, names included, because the manager was trying to "make a point that not all ratings are equal"
  2. Casually dropped the names of the employees with the highest ratings to different people
  3. Mentioned the lowest ratings of certain, unnamed employees

For those employees whose names he didn't outright mention, it wouldn't be hard to eventually piece together who he's talking about because he drops these things in conversation so often like a slip of the tongue.

What the manager doing is unethical and frustrating. He does not have a direct supervisor we can report his behavior to aside from HR. What is the best way to address this moving forward, or should I even address it?

4 Answers 4


It sounds as if most of you agree that this is not done.

So from now on, everyone should immediately start giving feedback, like "Sorry, I do not want to hear that; I think that is private information that we're not supposed to hear." Or do it in a question: "Is that something I should know - isn't that personal?" etc.

Try to keep all remarks addressed I, not you. Avoid confrontation.

If everyone draws these lines, he should get the hint.

  • +1 When I was 17 I had an English teacher who was a gossip. One time she looked at us and asked oh I shouldn't say this about [student], should I? She happened to be looking at me so I said No. She went on to gossip anyway. Those people are infuriating.
    – rath
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 12:12

Your company should have a stated policy for this and similar scenarios.

It is likely something like:

  • Discuss with your manager (not applicable in your case)
  • Discuss with another manager
  • Discuss with HR

Given the issue is around performance reviews, I would recommend starting with HR.

Is the review data truly private?


Indeed you have a poor manager (at least in the sense of HR aspects). I would evaluate my situation and take some steps forward.


Depending on your career, company, job, etc. you should ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is my working status with my manager? (Is our relationship temporary, project based, permanent?, Does my standing/skill set suffer/improve with him/her?, etc)
  2. Are others in the company and department aware of this information/behavior? (Subtly feel this information out)
  3. What relationship with the company does he/she have?
  4. What experience/education/training in HR related information does he/she have?
  5. Has anybody else reported this in the company? I am I comfortable with this behavior (especially if it is not addressed or handled by the company)?


Nevertheless, steps need to be taken with this kind of behavior. Taking some tips with what others have said I would follow this process:

  1. Document everything (see: Documentation Practices & Procedures, for how I would do documenting procedures/practices) - This is essential to have when reporting information to HR as it is security for you and they know the legal risks of not handling situations that have been properly documented. Try to get the spreadsheet's file name if he shows it again. It goes without saying, but dates, times, location, who was involved, etc are essential too.
  2. Apply Subtle Suggestions to Stop the Behavior - As Jan Doggen stated, uses phrases such as "Am I supposed to here that?", "I thought that was confidential?", "I don't think I should know that.", etc. Confrontation may be necessary if your manager does not get the hints (add "..., do you?", "Do you think..." to the phrases where grammatically appropriate).
  3. Report to Upper Management/HR - A senior manager or HR representative should be aware of this at minimum. Let them know and follow the procedures they outline, as well as ones here, going forward. If things do not improve, you will have documentation of your due diligence and what you were told by an authorized member(s) of the company.
  4. Consider Your Options (Optional) - Depending on how the above 3 steps go, you might need to consider if this bothers you to an extent; if so, it might be time to move on to another employer. Consider the steps taken by HR or management and if things have not improved; it might be time to go to a higher authority or ask for a transfer to another department (if you feel your privacy is being violated).

I wish you the best of luck and I hope everything goes well.



This needs to go to HR first if as I assume you're upset because you're one of the lower ratings. Personally I wouldn't mind or even bother with it because I wouldn't be at the lower end.

It's actually useful to know the colleagues ratings, and if mine wasn't at the top somewhere I'd appreciate the heads up and improve the rating rather than worry about the manager.

I'd also be very careful what personal information I gave him since he has a blabbermouth. But at the end of the day I'd work around his personality rather than try and change it.

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