The biggest issue in the Tennis “match fixing” scandal seems to be that the ATP didn’t act on information presented to them about possible cheating back in 2008. They claim there wasn’t enough evidence to investigate further, but in light of what is emerging now, that will cut them little slack – the reputation of the whole sport is under threat.
It made us wonder how many managers are out there, who sense that things are not quite right with their team or an individual they are responsible for, but who do nothing because of a lack of “evidence.”
Sometimes as managers we need to trust our instincts (especially if you know your team well – which all good managers should!). Identifying the point at which to act on your instinct can be hard, but I often describe it as “when my antennae start flapping” It may be a small change in behaviour at work, a slight slip in performance or an out of character remark – but something that is an indicator that there may be issues that need to be explored...
Usually, a low-key, informal conversation is all that is then needed to gauge whether there is cause for concern.
“I noticed you haven’t been meeting deadlines in the way you usually do... how are you finding things?” or “I sensed you were frustrated with some comments in the team meeting this morning – is everything OK?”
This approach will open up a dialogue and allow you to deal with any issues which emerge or will at least demonstrate to the team member you have noticed things aren’t entirely as they should be.
But many managers, without incontrovertible evidence of underperformance or inappropriate behaviour will shy away from acting – just like the ATP – only to have it come back to bite them later when things have escalated.
So when your “antennae start flapping”, take notice and do something about it. It could allow you to offer support just when it is needed and prevent far greater problems down the line.
You may also be interested in our blogs on “What sets fireworks off in your office?” or “3 steps to starting a difficult conversation” or take a look at our case studies to see how we have helped other organisations address tricky people problems.
I thrive on seeing people do things they didn’t think they could do! I draw on my management and leadership experience from working in senior positions in the Metropolitan Police Service, running Focal Point since 2002 and working across all three sectors in the widest variety of environments. Because we rarely learn things first time, we believe it is vital to provide support before, during and after the events we run, in order to get the best from them. Time and time again people have told us how the chance to review their learning and to have their actions reinforced has really helped cement new ways of doing things. This is what has then made the difference that they and we are looking for. I am a fellow of the CIPD and when I am not working with clients I can be seen on the golf courses of Hampshire.