Dismiss First Impressions

It’s been said that you only have one chance to make a first impression. You can change that for your direct reports!

Don’t Pre-Judge

As a leader, it’s essential that you create a climate of trust and risk simultaneously when developing employees. Part of that comes from not pre-judging them, leaving them little room to show you who they really are. If you didn’t know who Mark Zuckerberg was and he walked into your office, would you dismiss his aloof appearance and figure him to be a lackadaisical employee with little future?

Give Them a Pass…or Two

To avoid pre-judging entirely, stay OPEN to your direct’s ability to change/transform. Give them more passes than you may have in the past. In order for your directs to evolve, they must risk many things. They need to trust that they can experiment and you’ll be there to discover and shape their development all along the way.

The climate you set is more important than you know. Forge a climate of trust, empathy and curiosity with directs and they’ll never forget you for it. Directs know when their leader cares about them and when they don’t. You can’t hide it!

Be Honest with Feedback

Part of establishing trust is making sure you are honest with them with regard to their ability, what they have achieved and your desire for their growth. You must tell them when they have not delivered to the standards you have set. However, let them know you believe in them to evolve and that it’s okay to not get it right every time. The larger goal is to be tenacious with one’s development.

Keep discovering who your directs actually are versus your first, or second, opinion of them. Do your best to suspend your judgments. By doing that, you keep the discovery time active and the risk time comfortable.

For more on delivering strong, effective feedback, click here.  Thanks for reading.