The Secret to Solving Problems

It’s easy to make others responsible for problems in your organization. Someone else fell short. It couldn’t be you!

When leaders blame, everyone blames.

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Blame is the reason problems persist.

If you’re a leader, look around and own what you see. Finger pointing prolongs unhappiness.

Others won’t take responsibility until leaders own problems. The trouble is, irresponsible leaders feel the need to appear like they have it all together.

Leaders who need to be right, can’t take responsibility for wrong. 

Responsible leadership:

If you want others to take responsibility, lead the way.

  1. Imagine “better.” Escape the gravitational pull of problems. Lift your eyes and get a picture of what you want.
  2. Connect behaviors with “better.” What are people doing when things are better? Problems become manageable when right and wrong behaviors are clear.
  3. Create environments where learning is safe and celebrated. Don’t pretend you already know. Say, “I hadn’t thought of that.” Ask, “What are we learning?” 
  4. Develop more than one solution. When there’s one solution, the brain turns from exploring to defending.
  5. Evaluate frequently. Courageously ask:
    • Are we headed in the right direction?
    • What’s working?
    • What’s not working?
    • Describe the preferred future in behavioral terms.
    • What could be better? How?
    • What needs to stop?
    • What might we try?
  6. Stay optimistic. Don’t start the journey if you don’t believe things can be better. Optimism celebrates small wins.
  7. Set high and low targets. High aspirations, by themselves, are discouraging. You need attainable targets. When you reach a target, set another.

Successful leaders think about problems and challenges in terms of their responsibility, not someone else’s?

Nothing changes until leaders take responsibility.

In irresponsible, blaming environments, how can leaders take responsibility?