Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of supervisor gossip in the workplace. This paper proposes a hypothetical model in which supervisor gossip has an effect on leader-member exchange (LMX), in turn resulting in perceived supervisor ostracism among subordinates. Design/methodology/approach A dyadic research design was applied to collect data from Taiwanese employees. Supervisors participated in a survey containing measures of supervisor gossip and control variables, whereas subordinates responded to a questionnaire on LMX, perceived supervisor ostracism, and control variables. Findings The results indicated that positive supervisor gossip significantly affected LMX. Furthermore, healthy LMX reduced subordinates' perceptions of supervisor ostracism. Research limitations/implications All participants were recruited in Taiwan, which is a limitation for generalising the research findings. Future studies should investigate multiple societies of various cultural profiles. Practical implications To improve the quality of the supervisor-subordinate relationship, supervisors should adopt a positive informal communication style, and organisations should provide supervisors with information regarding the implications of workplace gossip, illustrating the substantial benefits of positive gossip and the potential drawbacks of negative gossip. Originality/value The present study highlighted the role of supervisor workplace gossip in the field of leadership and empirically investigated the impact of supervisor gossip on subordinates' reactions.