June 2014

Leader Blind Spots  (Part 6) "It's not my Fault"

Welcome to the sixth segment in the series of six common leader blind spots I frequently see.  In last month’s newsletter, we explored the importance of identifying your real strengths.  This month, we’ll focus on common behaviors when things go wrong. 

It's not my Fault

When things go ‘wrong’ it’s very human to want to assign blame - we think this helps us understand what happened in order to move forward.  Although assigning blame helps us feel better, it also prevents us from seeing where we contributed to the situation. As long as it’s someone else’s fault, we can deny our own contribution.   We get busy focusing on other people’s shortcomings… and the more we look, the more we notice. Great way to avoid looking at ourselves!

Steve Coburn's Blow-Up

If you caught the Belmont Stakes race earlier this month with favorite California Chrome as a potential contender for the coveted Triple Crown… you likely saw owner Steve Coburn’s emotional blow-up when his horse came in fourth.  He even placed blame on the horse that won! 

When we allow ourselves to focus on blame, the outcome is never good, whether it’s within a leadership role, or like Steve with an emotional outburst that gets replayed over and over.  It almost doesn’t matter that he apologized profusely once he calmed down.  What will be remembered are his initial words and actions.

Cathy’s Catastrophes

Cathy is a leader you likely know.  She is talented, smart, works hard and takes great pride in her leadership career.  She leads a team of thirty-five professionals and gets results but never achieves the exceptional level she strives for.  And… there’s always someone on the team to blame for the less than perfect performance.

The more frustrated she becomes, the more she singles out those that contributed to a mistake or simply places blame on the entire team.  The team continues to perform carefully and marginally, based on the fear of disappointing her, and being punished by her emotional outbursts.  The team sees her behaviors as a lack of trust and confidence in them, and so they perform accordingly… not at their best.

And worst of all, Cathy can’t see how her behaviors are creating exactly the results she doesn’t want.

Questions to Ask:

When things go wrong, before acting on assumptions or placing blame, ask these questions first:

  • How did I contribute to this situation?
  • Was I clear with my expectations?  How do I know?
  • Can I see something that I did or did not do that made the situation worse?

“The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Remember, just a few simple shifts can make a big difference!

This newsletter concludes the series of six common leader blind spots.  If you missed any of them, here are links to the previous five:

Understanding your Butterfly Effect
Dance Floor or Balcony
Silence your Einstein
Stop talking
Harness the Hidden

Are you achieving the results you want?
 
The best leaders make simple shifts or practical changes for big results.  I work closely with leaders to create practical solutions to achieve real success. Let me help you discover what's possible. Visit my website www.terrihughes.com for details.
Terri@TerriHughes.com

   
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