Don’t Blindside Employees

One of my rules for both leaders and employees is “no blindsiding.” This requires honest communication. Without honest communication it’s easy to lose trust.

When leaders make surprising decisions that involve employees, employees feel blindsided because there was no warning and no discussion. For example, when a leader decides someone isn’t the right fit for a position and replaces them without initiating a conversation to discuss.

Here are some other leadership behaviors that make employees feel blindsided:

  • Calling employees out in front of peers
  • Changing schedules, job descriptions, or responsibilities without warning
  • Firing them when they have only had great evaluations

What to do: Stop avoiding the conversation. If you’re rethinking a decision, talk to the employee about your concerns and your decision-making process.  Don’t go behind their back when they need to be included in the discussion.

If you think an upcoming decision is going to make the employee “lose face,” initiate a conversation first so that they aren’t embarrassed in front of their peers.