How To Stop Staff “Back-Biting”

Recently reading a document from a Business Consultant – Brett Williams, he mentioned how he had done quite a bit of work with businesses who are trying to get the staff to stop “back biting”. I found this interesting, as this has never been a problem that I have had to face.

I thought about why I had not faced this, and I believe I have the answer. The old adage of everything starts from the top – I agree with. So starting with me as the managing director – I have a personal philosophy “No reasons, Excuses or Stories”. This philosophy has lead me to be honest, open and clear on my expectations with staff. If a staff member tries to justify or blame someone else for them not achieving a result – I immediately stop the conversation and ask if they are applying to this philosophy. If they are not, then I ask them to reconsider.

Even if we need to review a problem, by having this philosophy, and never being personal with a problem, then from management, I am not allowing people to feel ashamed of being honest and up front. This means that we can solve problems – not create extra ones, or have issues trying to work out what really occurred.

I also ask staff to treat me and each other as I treat them. If they feel I am out of line, I encourage them to respectfully speak up, and visa versa. I find this also leads to far greater respect amongst us all. Only in the last 3 days, I had to chat to a staff member who was about to come on the heavy to someone he was managing, and asked if he would like to be treated this way. He reconsidered his position and the action never took place.

Finally – responsibility. Most of the time, I have found the justification of mistreatment comes from a person not taking responsibility. As I don’t believe in “Working the Man”, I wont allow my staff to work me. I am happy to hear and assist on any problem, as long as the problem brought to me, is attached to a prospective solution – even if they believe the solution to be foolish. If they bring a problem to me without any possible solution, I inform them that this is unfair, and not how I should be treated. By staffing taking on responsibility, then they are responsible for not only achieving a job, but also the care and well being of those working with them to achieve this job.

So with these four simple methods, I have avoided all staff back biting.

  1. No reasons, Excuses or Stories
  2. Treat others as you wish to be treated
  3. Be responsible and encourage others to be responsible
  4. Don’t manage with a “work the man” philosophy.

I hope that these ideas help you get rid of back biting and make you business life far more enjoyable and productive.


Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.



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December 11 , 2015, 7:51 pm - Reply

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Thanks for asking about facebook and likes. As I am only business to business with my clients, I mainly use Linkedin as my social media forum. So for now, i don’t use twitter or facebook. There is only so much a person can do, if one is to keep the communication honest and personal.


May 23 , 2016, 4:22 am - Reply
    Dopamine Addict

    I dont really see the problem. If anything todays staffers tend to be too sensitive and would improve with a bit of adjustment towards handling aggression, diversity of oppinion and the occasional brawl better. While a bruised ego can hurt, it is far more important to get a sense of how you move towards objective results and positive news. #snowflakes

    February 14 , 2017, 6:02 pm - Reply
      Cate Schafing

      This is certainly an interesting approach to staff. I am not sure staffers are too sensitive. But probably due to our current educational model, staffers have not learned to management failure. I believe it is in all parties best interest, to not be personal with issues. This is however sometimes very difficult. But if we focus on how to get to the positive and not just the negative, then this would assist.

      March 01 , 2017, 7:03 am - Reply

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