Here’s 10 ways to avoid the trap of the Blame Game I got from Leading Insight mailer.. Leading Insight is a management consulting company, based in San Clemente, California. Its purpose is to provide services that help companies increase the effectiveness of their people, resulting in greater productivity and revenues.
- Know your own predisposition to problem solving. Think about how you historically respond to problems. Do you focus on who is to blame rather than the problem itself? Perhaps you personally take on too much responsibility, and blame yourself or try to fix someone else. Ask yourself how your approach is impacting your organization and your personal effectiveness? Is there anything you would like to change?
- Shift your thinking from blame to curiosity. Blame is about judging, curiosity is about understanding. For problems to be solved effectively there needs to be an openness throughout the organization towards sharing perceptions and experiences.
- Manage your emotional reaction to problems. Although an emotional reaction such as anger may be reasonable, venting at the messenger is neither appropriate nor effective. Build your awareness of your automatic responses to situations, and consider a different reaction. Choose your response – don’t just react.
- Communicate your intentions. Talk about your expectations of the problem solving process. eg “I would like us all to understand what actually happened so that we can work together to ensure that we learn from our mistakes, rather then repeat them.”
- Support the team. When a mistake is made, lead the process of helping the team understand the situation and identify ways of solving the problem.
- Ask questions. What happened? What would someone say who was looking at this problem from the outside? Is this a one-time problem or is there a pattern of similar events? What factors are helping us in this situation? What factors are making it more difficult? What is missing, that if provided, would produce a breakthrough? What do we need to do differently? What can we learn from this situation?
- Be clear in your communication. Be specific about how you see the problem. You should communicate the facts and your interpretation of the facts, but be clear about what is reality and what is perception.
- Take responsibility for your contribution early. Acknowledging is risky, as is not acknowledging. As the leader, you need to understand and acknowledge how you may have contributed to the situation. Even if your contribution is small, chances are that your impact is larger then you realize.
- Encourage healthy, open and respectful communication. Your role as a leader is to encourage open communication and foster an environment where constructive feedback is welcomed. People are often hesitant to share negative thoughts with each other. A pattern of avoiding conflict can lead people to talking to others about how they feel but not to the person involved. At times you may need to step in to facilitate discussions and ensure that people communicate directly and respectfully with each other.
- Embrace and foster diversity. Recognize that there is more then one way to do something. You may feel that one approach is the best in your eyes, but its unlikely that everyone will feel the same. People have different values, experiences and perceptions and that diversity is the strength and the challenge of a team. Exceptional leaders do not always take charge: they have the courage to follow the creativity of a team down new paths.
By Doris Kovic, Business and Executive Coach of Leading Insight. San Clemente, CA. Please visit http://www.leadinginsight.com for more leadership articles.
“A boss creates fear, a leader confidence. A boss fixes blame, a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all, a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery, a leader makes it interesting. A boss is interested in himself or herself, a leader is interested in the group.”
~Russell H. Ewing
“Some people grow under responsibility, others merely swell.”
“The great leaders are like the best conductors – they reach beyond the notes to reach the magic in the players” ~Blaine Lee