My manager sometimes asks questions where the expected response could be to criticize others. This is usually in private conversation s. Stuff like:
I mention something I feel the organization has done wrong in the past, like move people around too much. He immediately asks me which of my previous managers I mean and gives me a list of choices, Jack, Mary, etc. And says if I tell him who he might agree with me and not move my people around if I don’t want.
He’s asked me several times if one of my reports has a problem that I’m younger than her, once after blaming me for something but than saying maybe it’s my report’s fault.
He asked if the way the organization was set up prior to the reorg was causing issues.
We’re talking about someone in a group I’ve had communication issues with (but who I’ve never explicitly named as the source of the issue) and he says that he personally likes this guy, but he’s a bit unresponsive, and pauses for me to comment .
All this could be just a concerned manager trying to help , or it could be someone who likes bashing people, what do you think?