I'm taking over a project and inheriting a direct who, for whatever reason, is not aware of the extent to which her previous managers were dissatisfied with the job she was doing. It appears she never got that direct feedback.

I know MT recommends being upfront and making clear that there is a "clean slate" with the new manager for a direct who has had some problems. Is that recommended in this case? Or is it better to just start with a clean slate without having a conversation about it - that could potentially sour our relationship from the beginning, because I'd essentially be giving her someone else's negative feedback she has never heard before?


Kloos's picture
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Hi there.

I had a similar situation many years ago.  A member of staff was known to be a poor working and always took the next day after bank holidays as sick leave (really... every one???).

We had our first OoO and I told her that there was a completely clean slate.  I made it clear that I knew of past reputations, but I wanted to base our working relationship starting from today to allow her to perform to the best of her ability and I would support her in any way that I could to achieve that.

As it happens, after 6 weeks she handed in her notice and walked out, but hey, at least I'd done the right thing.

Keep in mind that the issue was there, but be open and honest and above all, positive.




Simon Flowers's picture
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Sadly I think you are right that people are often not provided such feedback and you can use the fresh start to positively improve behaviour.

Firstly you should be explaining your MT approach to life, she should expect frequent feedback, all about achieving results and improving. Most find this very refreshing and encouraging.

Then explain you do like to gather input on the background but you treat it neutrally as a "clean slate".

Share what you learnt - this will be tough for them:  listen to what they say in response, then park it as new start.

And one thing you can do to boost them is to say "if you achieve XYZ and demonstrate 123 behaviours I guarantee that I will be highlighting to my Manager and enhancing your reputation" I found this was motivating some who didn't have a good previous manager relationship and weren't able to reach their potential. Of course if they do deliver you must raise it with your Manager and loop back to show that you rewarded their achievement and behaviour.

emily12345's picture

This is a very helpful approach, thank you for laying it out step by step.