The insight about a leader’s reputation starts with understanding how people are different. We are all familiar with “life is not fair.” This blog explains how a leader’s unfair reputation as a manager is unfair. Unfair in that how the leader manages most people has nothing to do with the leader’s reputation.
An individual has many layers or circles.
These same Circles can be used to detail how people are categories in a group setting.
Groups have norms, and these norms change based on the level of Formness. When a group is gathering for the first time they are UNFORMED. The individuals don’t know each other so appearances are the only distinctions between people. There is a sense that 80% of the people fit a common norm.
As members become acquainted with each other, the norm of Appearances is replaced with Behaviors; as the groups becomes more Formed, the norm progresses to Styles, and eventually to Values.
When the leader interacts with the outliers the group notes those interactions more than when the leader interacts with the 80%ers. Because the group notices the leaders’ exchanges with outliers, the reputation of the leader as a manager is based on how the leader handles the outliers. If the leader gives too much positive attentions to the positive outliers, the leader is seen as playing favorites. Likewise, if the leader manages the negative outliers disproportionally, the leader is perceived as practicing scapegoats.