I've been hired as a manager for a small, existing team. I have gotten feedback about one individual's past behaviour which I personally have not seen over the past 6 months I have been with the team. In fact, the individual seems to be demonstrating very positive behavior in front of me. In addition, the same perosn gives me feedback about the person again, but it is stuff that I have not seen or cannot verify because it has happen between them when I am not around.

It could be that the person giving feedback just doesn't get along with the other person and may be using some kind of filter when dealing with the other person. On the other hand, the person giving the feedback has been with the company for 7 years and has given me balanced advice so I would doublt if there is some kind of personal agenda.

What to do about this? Do I share this to the other individual?

Mark's picture

Generally, no. In most cases, if you don't see any other signs, and it's not game changing information, the right approach is to pay closer attention, and see what you can see firsthand. If you see nothing, do nothing.

The reason for this is that otherwise, my guess is that as soon as you take care of this issue for the person feeding you, they're going to move on to someone else, and you've established an ineffective pattern.

Sure, there's a chance you have a Jekyll and Hyde, and the feedback is accurate. It's not common, though, and it's REALLY rare that you never see it if it's true.

There's another danger, though. If you keep listening, and don't see anything, and you keep getting fed, that's ineffective as well. I recommend you talk to the person sharing with you: "I've heard you, I've looked, I don't see it. Game over unless I see it."


tokyotony's picture

This brings me to another scenerio....Let's say a person does have written history from a previous manager about the performance of an individual and it is more than one person on the team saying they have had problems with an individual, but when you come on board, for whatever reason (let's say they view it as a chance to have a fresh start), doesn't show the behaviors documented.

Let's even take this one step further....You appreciate the behaviors and proactivity of the individual, you may even think about promoting the person after a year....but you think the team may "revolt". What do do with this?

Mark's picture

Sorry, but we appear to have passed from the firm ground of actual situations to a series of extrapolated hypotheticals, which I often find to cause distraction from the original presentation and recommendation.

With any situation, with 2-3 changes, all incremental, the answer is sometimes startlingly different.

If you'd like to re-submit this as an actual situation that you're dealing with, I'll help. We're in the business of recommendations, not intellectual excursions.



tokyotony's picture

Actually, this is an actual situation I had with another group I inherited about 5 years ago. The group wanted to tell me how bad another person was but I had not seen the behavior myself.

Besides, even if it was a hypothetical situation that could very well happen, why not talk about it to be prepared. Did I violate some kind of rule?