Responsibility Before Blame

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What I am about to say might surprise you...but you are not the perfect leader. You don’t lead everyone perfectly. If someone around you is not meeting your expectations, it could have more to do with your expectations than their performance.

Most people tensions are actually systems tensions in disguise. 

Here’s an example from marriage: If my wife and I have seemingly become a little distant over the last few months is it because she doesn’t care about me? Or is falling out love with me? Or is it because we haven’t had a date night in six months? Guess what? Getting a consistent date night back on the calendar (a system) relieves much of the tension! The same thing is true for our teams. Better personal and corporate systems can relieve much of the tensions we feel in our organizations.

In a similar way, when a team member is not meeting our expectations, rather than blaming them, we need to take responsibility enough to first ask ourselves some questions:

  • Are my expectations clear? Do I have a written record of them? 
  • Does this person have a clear job description?
  • Have I adequately explained myself in this situation?
  • Does my team know what’s most important to me as the leader?
  • Am I regularly communicating, coaching and reviewing the way I should be?
  • Have I been faithful to do what I said I would do? 
  • How could I help this person move from where they are to where they need to be?
  • Am I modeling the way?

Responsibility before blame could forever change your leadership. The next time you are tempted to blame...stop...and take responsibility. Ask questions instead of making accusations. Assume the best. Commit to being a better leader. Commit to growing. Take responsibility for your growth. Lead yourself first. Get better. Become a better manager and leader. Communicate and coach more consistently. Give others as much grace as you expect. All of a sudden, you will look around...and your team will be better.