Leaders don’t play the blame game

If you’re the boss, you must the leader, right?images

Not necessarily.

In many organizations, the blame game is part of the culture. Oh, it’s not written down in the “Culture Code” the CEO paid big bucks to a consultant to pull together. But it’s part of the culture.

Here’s how it happens. Some crisis, large or small, necessitates the boss getting the team together in the conference room. The boss — maybe you — starts by asking what happened. The ops guy blames the head of marketing. She objects. The boss intercedes with the intent of finding out who screwed up. It’s the blame game.

How’s this for an alternative?

The boss starts by saying, “We’ve got a problem. Our crisis crosses over all departments. So, I take responsibility for the problem. I need your help to find the best solution. Let’s start by analyzing what happened.”

No blame.

What if the boss is the source of the blame game? What if he or she starts by saying, “What happened here? I thought you guys could handle this?”

What if you say, “Hey, boss. I think it’s important to understand what caused this crisis. So, I’ll start by admitting my own contribution to the problem. But, I would suggest we focus on how to move forward to solve this problem and then resolve to find a way to avoid the same problem in the future. Would that be okay?”

No blame.

Now, who’s the leader?