Part of our job as leaders is to openly discuss our team members. This includes their performance, attitude, effort, etc. And in many cases, there are varying opinions on any person being discussed. That means that the forming opinion of a person being discussed is heavily influenced by who is discussing that person. One group of leaders discussing our example team member may value the team member’s tenacity and grit while another group discussing them may be annoyed by their lack of soft skills. Left unbalanced, a few key leaders can sway the opinion of a person being discussed in a big way.
Here’s an easy fix that will yield much more balance discussions about people: Someone in the room needs to be a clear advocate for any team member being seriously discussed. Ideally, this is the person’s leader. They know them best and will naturally make sure their team member isn’t unfairly viewed by others. If they can’t attend, this can even be a job given to someone in the discussion. But someone has to guard against groupthink, against exaggeration and against a mob forming without the person being discussed being represented or given a chance to speak on their own behalf in the discussion. Do this and you will see much more balanced discussions take place vs pop up evaluations of your team that affect his or her personal brand unfairly.