Avoid bias as a new boss

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Typically a newly transferred manager takes time to review the personnel files of his staff. This manager however did not want to become biased by reading the existing files. We’ll explore more on that below.

Should a new manager read the personnel files of her team before sizing up the team for herself? My coaching client says no. He didn’t want to become biased towards his team members. Why? Because he knew that previous managers could have been contributing factors to some of the personnel problems.
A colleague of mine had a similar experience when he joined a company as a supervisor. When getting a tour of the facility he was told not to bother talking to one particular employee. The person giving the tour said that the employee in question was quite negative and generally unhelpful.
Ignoring that advice, my colleague made it a point to connect with the individual regularly and ended up being the only supervisor to effectively engage that difficult employee.
Reflection Questions

  • Have you bought into the negative back story of an employee?
  • Have you written off an employee in your mind and allowed it to influence your behavior as a leader?
  • How can you open your mind to give employees a chance to succeed?
  • By giving employees every opportunity to perform you might be able to succeed where other bosses have failed.