Gossip is bad. Except when it’s good.
So-called “positive gossip” is when you say good things about someone behind their back. In this study, managers who shared positive gossip about a third party with an employee improved the quality of their relationship with that employee.
To be clear, this improved the relationship with the employee with whom the manager shared the positive gossip, not the person the manager was speaking about.
Read Supervisor Workplace Gossip and its Impact on Employees in the Journal of Managerial Psychology.