One of the most pathetic expressions of inept management is complaining about something that hasn’t been discussed with the people involved.
Complaints are bold, loud, and long when the people we’re talking about aren’t in the room.
Bravery seems to be connected to proximity.
Introspection comes before complaint, confrontation, or correction.
4 questions for introspection:
#1. How did you define success before the project began?
You can’t achieve excellence until you have described the behaviors that produce it. This includes behaviors associated with effective planning, efficient execution, and reflective evaluation.
Incompetent managers love to point out failure after the fact, rather than defining success before the fact.
#2. How did you lead the team in the process of defining success?
Impatient managers cut short discussions about success.
When the issue of defining success is first brought up, rooms often go quiet. Because silence is awkward, everyone is glad to go with shallow first answers. The general feeling is let’s move on.
People think they know what success looks like, but often the best they can do is mumble about things they don’t want.
You might ask, “If we succeed, what will be true for our customers and our team?” This is a deceptively difficult question. It includes questions like, “What will be different if we succeed?” The answer isn’t simply more income.
#3. How did you lead the team in describing the path to success?
We fail while trying to succeed.
When the path forward is foggy, success is seldom achieved.
Consider these questions:
- What is our shared language?
- What recurring questions will we ask each other along the way?
- What can we do to support each other?
- How will we define, acknowledge, and honor progress?
#4. How did everyone understand how to work together?
What introspective questions might managers ask themselves before complaining, confronting, or correcting others?