Just because you slipped up does not mean that you can't redeem yourself

Just because you slipped up does not mean that you can’t redeem yourself
Image Credit: gianstep

We are all familiar with the phrase “you only get one chance to make a first impression”. However, is that really true? I think that we all realize that if we make a mistake when we’re meeting someone for the first time, it can do damage to how they view us. The good news is that it is possible to use your manager skills to redeem how they view you. However, as managers we need to realize that fixing this problem is going to take effort, time, and some clever skills on our part.

Steps You Can Take To Fix A Bad Start

One of the problems that we can run into right off the bat when we make a bad first impression is the simple fact that first impressions are actually quite sticky. Our manager training teaches us that other people’s first impressions of us can be based on biased thought patterns. There is a an effect called the primacy effect that occurs when the first few things that people notice about you go on to influence what they learn about you later on.

Just to make things even more difficult for you, there is another bias called conformational bias that can cause people that you’ve made a poor first impression with to only notice the details about you that confirm what they already believe about you. Simply put, people see what they want to see.

One way that you can go about fixing a relationship that started with a poor first impression is to find ways to spend more time with that person. Just exactly how you go about doing this is up to you. One way that you can spend more time with the person would be to go to the gym with them or even eat lunch with them. Your goal here is to build familiarity.

Repairing A Bad First Impression

When you have created a bad first impression, what you are going to have to do is to attempt to offer a lot of evidence that that impression is not correct. Showing up late for an event can only be corrected by showing up early for several events going forward. Correcting a bad first impression is going to take some patience on your part. Sadly, there is no magic cure that will erase the bad first impression that you have created.

In order to overcome a poor first impression is going to be your responsibility. Once way that you can go about doing this is to search for common bonds that you may have with the person who has the poor impression of you. Shared interests such as music, sports, or even cooking can allow you to build bridges that can help to repair the damage that you’ve done. Additionally, using humor to make light of the situation can help both parties to move beyond it. If you poke fun at the mistake that you made, then you can help everyone get over it.

When we make a mistake and leave someone with a bad first impression of ourselves, we need to take action. We can follow up and send them proof that we are skilled and do have talents that our mistake may have hidden. We can also make an offer to help the other person reach some goal that they are working on. By doing this you may be able to get them to accept you. Finally, if you take the time to open up to the person that you’ve gotten off to a bad start with and share details about your experiences with them you may be able to win them over. By doing this you may be able to generate empathy in them for you.

What All Of This Means For You

When we meet someone for the first time, we have an opportunity to make a first impression with them. We’d like to do this successfully all the time; however, life does not always work out that way. Sometimes we screw things up and make a bad first impression that is going to make team building that much harder to do. Life is not over. When this happens, we need to get busy and see what we can do to fix things.

One of the big problems with first impressions is that they are sticky and difficult to overcome. People will keep seeing us the way that their first impressions led them to see us. We can fix things simply by spending more time with the person and allowing them to discover who we really are. When a bad first impression is made, we can use evidence to show the other party that we’re better than they may believe. If you can find out what you have in common with the other party, then you can use that connect with them. Opening up and sharing with the other person can cause their poor first impression of you to change.

No, making a bad first impression is not a good thing. In fact, if this happens then you may have just signed yourself up for a lot of work in order to fix it. The good news is that if you are willing to make the effort, a poor first impression can be overcome. Don’t let first impressions stop you!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: If you make a poor first impression with someone, do you think that there is any way that you can do a “reset” and start over with them?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental IT Leader Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Just exactly how comfortable are you telling your boss or the people that you work with exactly what you think about them or their ideas? Honesty is very important to helping teams operate correctly, but it sure is hard to find the manager skills needed to do it right. Teams need candor from their employees, but managers must take real steps to make clear they’re open to bad news and contrary opinions. Getting everyone comfortable in doing this can be a real challenge for managers.

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Workers are going to have to leave the home office and start coming in

Workers are going to have to leave the home office and start coming in
Image Credit: bayareabaw

So manager, where are the members of your team? If you are like most managers, the answer to this question has a number of different answers. Some of your team members are probably in the office working just down the hall from you. However, other members may be working from home. It turns out that there is a change going on in the workplace right now – those at home workers are being brought back into the office. Is anyone going to have the manager skills in order to be ready for this change?

Why Change?

For the past several years, most companies have been embracing a wide collection of flexible work practices. However, as of late there seems to be a change taking place. The ultimate in flexibility – when an employee works from home all the time, is starting to go away. More and more companies are either ending these work from home programs or at least reducing them. The thinking is that managers want more collaboration from their team members. Managers also want closer contact with customers and more control over their team member’s workday.

This is very clearly a big change for everyone involved. What a manager needs to realize is that their remote workers are used to setting their own work hours as well as how they spend those hours. Note that many at home workers generally start earlier than everyone else or end up working long after everyone else has gone home. When these workers are forced to once again come into today’s open office work environments and put up with set meeting schedules, they can start to push back. This can be an issue for managers because we really don’t have any manager training for how to deal with this.

Telecommuting is a big deal – most companies have some sort of telecommuting program in place. However, the number of workers who perform some or all of their work at home is starting to shrink. The change that a worker has to go through when they switch from working at home to working in an office can be a very big deal. One of the biggest changes that they’ll be facing will be the lack of privacy that will be presented to them in an office environment. Additionally, they will once again have to spend the time required to commute both to and from work.

What Coming Back To The Office Really Means

The irony regarding this change is that studies of people who work at home have shown that they generally are more productive than people who come into an office. The reasons that these changes are happening is because more and more managers are deciding that they want to be able to see their teams on a daily basis. Additionally, there is a hope that by having the whole team working side by side each day there will be office-based conversations that will produce breakthroughs that will more than make up for any losses in productivity.

Formally remote workers will need to deal with a number of changes. These workers are going to have to learn how to deal with the more cramped spaces that they’ll find in an office. They will also have to once again get used to sharing resources like group printers. There can be even bigger changes in store for these workers. Remote workers who have to switch to the office can have their egos bruised. Managers who used to make time for these workers when they visited the office will pay less attention to them. If a manager does take extra time to help a former remote worker transition to the office, the rest of the team will be resentful that the manager has less time for them.

Companies are motivated to bring their remote workers back into the office because they are trying to reinvent the workplace. What firms want to see happen is for there to be creative tension in the office in order to allow workers to challenge each other. If a remote worker is participating via conference call, they may end up being left out of this type of dynamic. The goal is to find a way to promote teamwork at work and the companies want the formally remote workers to become part of these teams.

What All Of This Means For You

The times they are a changing. Managers currently have teams that can be distributed between an office work environment and workers who work from home full time. However, firms are changing how they want things run and so the work-from-home workers are now being asked to come back into the office and start to participate in some team building. This is going to be a big change for both the workers and for their managers.

Companies have started to either end or at least roll-back their work from home programs. The reason that they are doing this is because they want to increase the amount of collaboration that they get out of their team members. Managers also want to have more control over the people who are on their team. Managers need to understand that this change in work location can be a big deal for the formally remote workers and it’s going to take them some time to fully adjust to their new situation. The lack of privacy that these workers will have in the office and the impact of commuting will be a big deal for them. Managers are willing to put up with a small loss in productivity in order to have their team members working side by side and generating conversations that can cause break-through to happen. Former remote workers will need to adjust to the fact that managers will have less time for them now that they are around all of the time. The creative tension that having these remote workers in the office should create will make this change worth it.

Every manager wants to be able to direct and control the members of his or her team. Having them all in an office seems to make doing this easier. Yes, people who work at home can be a great resource for getting things done at night or early in the morning, but bringing them back into the office will once again make them a part of your team. As a manager, you need to realize that this change in work locations is going to be a big deal for them as well as for you. Take the time to make sure that it goes well and you’ll finally have your entire team under your control.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that a manager should permit any work from home from the members of his or her team?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental IT Leader Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

We are all familiar with the phrase “you only get one chance to make a first impression”. However, is that really true? I think that we all realize that if we make a mistake when we’re meeting someone for the first time, it can do damage to how they view us. The good news is that it is possible to use your manager skills to redeem how they view you. However, as managers we need to realize that fixing this problem is going to take effort, time, and some clever skills on our part.

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