Nothing good comes from two people talking about a third person who isn’t there. If your boss is allowing people to talk to him or her about team members who are not present, you have a problem. If you are the boss and you’re doing this, knock it off.
Who is worse: the person who wants to talk about you behind your back or the person who encourages them to do it?
The good boss is loyal. You can count on him going to bat for you, even if he privately disagrees with your view and even if defending you is not necessarily the best thing for him. He is never two-faced.
The bad boss, perhaps while boasting of his uncompromising integrity, thinks only about what’s best for himself. Watch your back.
Thus spoke The Programmer.