One of the best articles I have read on this topic is from MIT Sloan and it’s entitled “Setting You Up To Fail”. To get the full article there is a fee. I think it’s worth the $6.50 because it lays out the conditions that lead to a boss being undermined by their subordinates so that you can recognize them and do what you can to avoid them.
Also to consider is what you have control over and what you don’t. We tend to focus on what you can do differently because you have control over your responses and setting up effective processes to give your employees the best chances of being successful. That being said, being aware of experiences that you did or did not control that led to biases can be helpful in overcoming them or avoiding them altogether.
Ways that you could get mislabeled are that your team had preconceptions of you based on your reputation at your previous position or what they have “heard” about you. They could even be based on the boss you are replacing and how that person performed or acted. Let’s face it, based on your employee’s past experiences, you could also be dealing with some over sensitivity on their part – justified or not. Whatever the reason, if you’re in the situation where you believe that there is bias against you that is creating mislabeling you can try a few things that might help the situation:
– Understand them better by asking more questions and actively listening (try to focus on listening for information, not confirmation)
– Know them better (learn what matters most to them)
-Establish a rapport. Try these tips.
Here are 4 habits to break to be a better boss
Employees aren’t always blameless and they aren’t helpless victims. Coaching them on how to better recognize biases they may be holding towards you, your customers or one another can help them learn to spot them early and more often. Also, improving their ability to communicate effectively about their perspectives and become more skilled at conflict resolution can lead to a more improved work environment. Teaching them the basics of a problem orientation mindset that leads to drama versus one that creates more empowerment is vital to healthy work relationships.