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Chris LoCurto

By

May 17, 2011

Whose Fault Is This?!

Way too many leaders make the mistake of playing the blame game! It happens all the time. If something goes wrong, the first place they go is, “Who’s fault is this?” To them, it’s more important to attack a person to “get to the bottom” of an issue, instead of fixing the problem and making sure it doesn’t happen again.

Now, those people would disagree with me and say that they are trying to fix it. The problem with that is, attacking your team members doesn’t get them to do it right. It causes them to freeze. Yep! Solid as ice. Why? Because when people are treated without dignity by being blamed for something, they make a conscious decision to do nothing. That way they don’t get in trouble for something else.

Instead, try something that will give your team the freedom to talk about issues without feeling like they will be crucified. Years ago I implemented a post-event meeting with my Live Event Coordinators. It came after all of the accolades, high fives,and pats on their backs. I brought them in and told them that the meeting would be a place for us to discuss the things that went wrong and come up with ways to fix them so they never happened again.

Now I knew the issues and how to fix them, because I had taken copious notes while at the events. But that wouldn’t help me grow my team and my business. So the first time we held this meeting, I called my team in and explained to them what I wanted to happen. It was silent for a while and finally one team member said, “Well, So-and-so didn’t get her thing done and that really affected my thing!” To which I said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa…this isn’t about blame. Tell us what happened and how we can fix it, so it doesn’t happen in the future.”

They were shocked! They didn’t know what to say. In fact, I had to do most of the talking after that. But two events later, sitting in that meeting, one of my team members spoke up and said, “Well, I’ll tell you what I did, and I know it effected you, So-and-so. I realized if I just do this, I can make sure that doesn’t happen again. I’ll add it to the check-list.”

From that point on, that team became the tightest team! We could meet and discuss any issue openly because they knew they were going to be treated with dignity and not get their heads ripped off. They didn’t freeze with the fear of being treated badly, so the team became self-policing, and issues became almost nil. The problems we did have were no longer things that a team member missed, just the unexpected issues that come up during any live event.

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  • http://www.timmunsell.com Munsy

    Exactly, there’s a big difference between acknowledging responsibility to fix something and placing blame for breaking that something.

  • Joe

    Tend to agree, BUT, when Dave mentioned last November that sales in a certain area was off, how was that handled? Did he say that he caused the drop, or the leaders of that profit center caused it by not reacting to the economic times?

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      What he did was work with leadership to find a solution by telling them their cheese had been moved. Not spend time telling them it was their fault. Had he played the blame game, they would have spent time trying not to mess up instead of fixing problems.