LSA Global Insights Newsletter: How to Stop Back-Channeling at Work

July 24, 2021

How to Stop Back-Channeling at Work

What is Back-Channeling at Work?

Back-channeling conversations at work are those that happen in secret and conflict with the larger discussion. These dysfunctional work conversations often occur just after a team meeting when an individual:

  • Disagrees with decisions that have been made
  • Feels that their self-interests are threatened or slighted
  • Is critical of a teammate’s character, competence, behavior, or opinions

Then, instead of voicing their concerns directly, the individual shares their beliefs with a third party. It may take the form of venting or gossip. But, however it occurs, it can be culturally toxic and decrease team performance and engagement.

We’ve All Been Guilty
To some degree, it’s a common reaction to walk away from a disappointing work meeting and gripe a bit with a colleague about what left you unsatisfied — an outcome you disagree with or a coworker who annoyed you. It’s a way to air your frustration.

But, even without intent to do harm, it can have a very damaging effect on your team’s culture.

The Negative Repercussions
When back-channeling becomes a frequent and accepted mode of communication, it undermines mutual trust, effective teamwork, and ultimately team performance. Back-channeling also has significant costs.


Joydeep Ganguly
Head of Operations
Gilead Sciences
"We engaged LSA Global to facilitate an important senior leadership summit.

I was impressed by how well they understood the dynamic of our group, our intent, and what we wanted to achieve.

I was especially happy with how well they allowed the thought leaders the space to get their point across.

Nicely done!"