In my last post I talked about managers and front line workers confronting themselves. I want to share a little bit of my story to help illustrate further. In a former life as a manager of a development team I was faced with many things I believed were impeding progress. They ranged from company politics, financing issues (whether payroll would be met), top-down push for revenue, old products, technical debt and so much more! When my team was faced with issues I was quick to point to many of these constraints to excuse the outcomes. I’d like to think I never blamed my team but it’s possible (it was too long ago to remember).
Eventually I remember noticing my team was reflecting my behaviour. They would use the same excuses as I did, but even worse their actions were resulting in mediocre outcomes. At the time I didn’t have many leadership tools in my kit, but somehow I managed to see the impact my own actions were having. As a newly minted manager I didn’t want to admit I could be the one at fault for my teams performance.
Somehow I found the courage to confront myself. Only once I took this scary step did I actually start to take responsibility for my work. I still faced many challenges and there were times I was still pointing to one of these other factors. Equally important I came to realize what it meant to look after my team. It didn’t mean making excuses when things went wrong. Rather it’s empowering them to also take responsibility for the outcomes. Over time my team improved their results significantly. Better yet the team spirit and morale increased right along with results.
Like many of us do I relied mainly on my intuition to reverse the trend. Luckily it worked out OK for me. Recently I signed up for Christopher Avery’s Leadership gift as I believe it’s one of the most powerful tools I’ve encountered. I wish I was more aware of this gift when I first became a manager. This knowledge would have made the above journey easier. As a member of this program I am now confronting myself in new ways. As I peel back the onion on myself, I’m finding places I’ve been justifying or blaming my way out of taking responsibility. As a result of confronting myself I am starting to see the results I am looking for … it’s liberating!
Going back to my previous post … confronting your reality sucks! (trust me … I know!) But until we’re ready to do this change will continue to be difficult … if not nearly impossible. Be courageous! If I can I know you can too!