The benefit of the benefit of the doubt
Have you ever been in a situation where something is not quite right with one of the people on your team and you have the urge to confront them about the situation? I have been there many times as a leader: you get the idea in your head that your way is the only way and that you are going to right such an obvious wrong. After looking like a fool many times because of jumping to conclusions, I have learned to give people the benefit of the doubt.
Next time you want to blame someone on your team for making a big mistake or are angry about something that happened (even though you admit you don’t have all the facts) take a step back and take a breath.
Invite the person in question into your office for coffee and calmly ask "how are you doing?….. I’d love to hear your side of this story." Don’t judge, don’t look for evidence to condemn them. Sincerely listen. Things get worse when people feel attacked so be gentle and show graciousness to your team mate.
Once you’ve got the facts, then make a level-headed decision. It is never ok to make a judgement call based on an assumption – it just makes you look like an immature leader who doesn’t know how to handle conflict.