Unfortunately this happens all the time. You lead a team and you have a concern about one of your team members. You seek the input of others on your team – do they see what you see? Do they experience what you experience, or is it just you? Your intentions are good. You’re seeking to understand and gain clarity.
(Caution: You may also be seeking validation. Because of your position of authority, your team is likely to agree with you regardless.)
Unfortunately instead of creating clarity, you have just unwittingly perpetuated and exemplified gossip. This individual is now seen by their co-workers through your filter of concern. Not to mention there’s a good chance your concern will reach them, and not in the way you intended. Your “trusted advisor” is also left to wonder when you ask others about them.
So what to do?
Go talk to your team member directly. Kindly and candidly share your wonderings and ask them if you’re on target or off base. If you’d like advice or support before the conversation, seek out a peer or your own manager.
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