I know that many of my blogs blame the leader for the mistakes or underperformance of their staff. It’s a common theme, because it’s true!
When I see a problem, I always start by looking at myself and what I can to do the get a team or a person performing better. If after exploring all my options, I find that it is not my fault, the action is going to be severe for those involved (someone is gonna get fired!). I never get to that point anymore. Somewhere down the path of arranging training, teaching stuff myself, coaching, tweaking duties, offering alternatives, setting up systems to track progress, and being caring about it all, almost everyone improves drastically or decides for themselves to get off the ship. And as our selection process gets better, there is far less jumping off the ship.
My message: stop griping about your staff’s bad intentions and look in the mirror. You are almost always looking at the reason for their shortcomings.
Another key message: you are a good person who has the position you have because someone believes in you. I believe in you, too. Being a successful leader provides a wonderful feeling that you are helping others. Being a successful leader is about doing simple things well and in a caring way. It does not take a fancy degree or a great résumé to be a great leader. It takes a willingness to see your own mistakes, forgive yourself for them, and move on in new and positive ways. Scan through my blogs and in there you will find the starting points to all the things that have worked for me and other leaders over many years. I did not invent any of it. I just learned the principles and applied them, making countless mistakes along the way and getting better over time.
Funny, as I have learned the classic lessons of leadership, my team performs better and better! I think that proves my original point, that leaders are the source of most performance problems. What do you think?