Navigating the Manager-Employee Relationship: What Not to Share

Tess McCarthy

Hatched by Tess McCarthy

Oct 01, 2023

4 min read


Navigating the Manager-Employee Relationship: What Not to Share


Building a strong and professional relationship with your manager is crucial for career growth and success. However, there are certain topics and information that should never be shared with your manager. In this article, we will explore ten things you should never, ever tell your manager, focusing on the importance of maintaining confidentiality and professionalism in the workplace.

1. Confidential Information from Colleagues:

One golden rule to remember is never to share anything you heard in confidence from another employee, unless it poses a safety-related concern. Confidentiality is the foundation of trust within a team, and breaching it can lead to strained relationships and potential repercussions. Always respect your colleagues' privacy and remember that trust is earned through discretion.

2. Personal Drama:

While it's natural to form personal bonds with your colleagues, it is essential to keep personal drama outside of the professional sphere. Your manager is not your therapist, and sharing personal problems can blur the lines between personal and professional boundaries. Instead, focus on maintaining a positive and constructive atmosphere at work, which will benefit both you and your team.

3. Office Gossip:

Office gossip is a toxic habit that can damage relationships, create mistrust, and ultimately harm the overall work environment. Sharing or participating in gossip with your manager can negatively impact your professional reputation and make you appear untrustworthy. Instead, prioritize open communication and professionalism, as these are key factors in fostering a healthy and productive workplace culture.

4. Negative Opinions about Colleagues:

It is crucial to maintain a level of professionalism when discussing your colleagues with your manager. Sharing negative opinions or engaging in gossip about your coworkers can create a hostile work environment and undermine teamwork. Instead, focus on constructive feedback and seek ways to collaborate effectively with your colleagues to achieve shared goals.

5. Personal Grudges or Vendettas:

Holding personal grudges against colleagues is detrimental to your professional growth and can hinder teamwork and collaboration. It is essential to separate personal issues from professional relationships. Communicate openly and respectfully with your manager if you encounter difficulties with a coworker, but avoid letting personal vendettas cloud your judgment or affect your work.

6. Salary or Compensation of Others:

Discussions about salaries and compensation are sensitive topics that are best kept confidential. Revealing or discussing the salaries of your colleagues can lead to resentment, jealousy, and discord within the team. Instead, focus on your own performance and discuss concerns about compensation directly with your manager in a professional manner.

7. Personal Bias or Prejudice:

Inclusive work environments thrive on diversity and respect for all individuals. It is essential to avoid expressing personal bias or prejudice towards colleagues, as it can create a hostile work environment and damage professional relationships. Embrace diversity, be open-minded, and treat all coworkers with fairness and respect.

8. Conflicts with Superiors:

While it is crucial to address workplace conflicts, discussing personal conflicts with your superiors should be approached with caution. Sharing every detail of a conflict with your manager can create a perception of disloyalty or an inability to handle challenges independently. Instead, aim to resolve conflicts at the lowest level possible, seeking guidance from your manager when necessary.

9. Personal Opinions on Politics or Religion:

Personal opinions on politics or religion are highly subjective and can easily lead to heated debates or division within the workplace. It is best to keep these topics out of professional discussions to maintain a harmonious and inclusive environment. Focus on working towards shared goals and fostering a positive work atmosphere.

10. Unethical or Illegal Activities:

Under no circumstances should you ever disclose or involve your manager in unethical or illegal activities. Such actions can have severe consequences for both you and the organization. If you encounter any unethical or illegal practices, report them through the appropriate channels to ensure transparency and maintain the integrity of the workplace.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Prioritize professionalism and discretion in your interactions with colleagues and superiors. Respect confidentiality and avoid sharing sensitive information that can harm relationships or compromise trust.
  • 2. Foster open and honest communication with your manager. Approach them with constructive feedback, concerns, or questions regarding your work, while maintaining a professional tone and avoiding personal biases.
  • 3. Invest in building positive relationships with your colleagues. Collaborate effectively, offer support, and focus on shared goals to create a healthy work environment conducive to growth and success.


Navigating the manager-employee relationship requires a delicate balance of professionalism, trust, and respect. By avoiding these ten topics and practicing discretion, you can foster a positive work environment, strengthen professional relationships, and ensure your career progression remains on the right track. Remember, professionalism and confidentiality are key to building a successful and fulfilling career.

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