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Have you ever been so frustrated about something your employee did or said that you began to treat them differently? Have you ever been the recipient of unfair behavior because your manager believed something about you that was inaccurate or taken out of context?

Contrary evidence is a thing…. or it should be. Just because something looks one way doesn’t mean it actually is. If we are doing our work as managers, we are taking in information and looking for contrary evidence to validate what we have heard or received. Think of the scientific minded Sherlock Holmes and how he approaches solving mysteries. He may be a fictional character, but his approach is solid, even if it’s time-consuming.

John Warner in his blog on fact based decision-making, nicely outlines bias and its risks: http://blog.readytomanage.com/fact-based-decision-making/

Consider this article from Entrepreneur that discusses the impact of bias in performance reviews: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/281919

Conflict: If ever there was a case for looking for contrary evidence, it’s in situations that involve conflict. As a manager, how you handle conflict on your team or with your colleagues is important. When a fact based approach is employed, the outcomes for all parties improve. Why? Because people believe the situation has been fairly evaluated and each time you successfully work through a conflict you are setting an example of how future conflict will be resolved. And that improves the overall culture of your team or business.

12 excellent techniques for conflict resolution in the workplace –


So if you are using logic why look for contrary evidence? If someone gives you their opinion on a topic that opinion has gone through their own bias and personal filters. If you aren’t seeking additional data points then it’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of how information is conveyed. That’s not to say you should never ask someone their opinion. If that were true, then Voice of the Customer data wouldn’t be used so widely and you would never have to take another survey again. But if you are asking people for their opinion, alongside gathering facts, you want a large enough sample size to provide validity to what is being measured or evaluated.

For tips on logic based decision-making –


Keep that in mind when someone asks your opinion about someone or something. Do your best to answer questions honestly with fact based examples. Your opinion is just that, an opinion. If your audience is gathering information to make a decision that will impact someone’s job | financial situation| promotion | reputation etc. it is paramount to use facts.

Bottom line: It is easy to make decisions based on how you feel about something, but in order to run your teams effectively, use facts. Oh, and look for contrary evidence because as Sherlock Holmes points out “….when you have excluded the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”.