Have you ever gone up to an employee to address a problem and instead of them helping to resolve it all they did was give you a hundred excuses about how it wasn’t their fault and there was nothing they could do about it?
Did this make you feel like going to them in the future to get a resolution to a problem? What did it do to your level of trust in that person?
As managers and supervisors, we need to be cognizant of how we respond to problems in the work place. Whether it is an employee looking for a solution, a fellow manager, or a boss, we need to own the problem.
Making excuses doesn’t solve a problem and it doesn’t build trust. Even if you’re not to blame for the problem it is better to take ownership of it and offer resolutions than to start throwing blame around.
I am not suggesting that you take responsibility for every problem that is presented to you. Only that as issues arise that are part of your area of responsibility don’t blow them off; be accountable.
When problems are initially discovered and you need to respond quickly it is better to be a leader and accept responsibility for correcting an issue.
There will always be time later to dig into the root cause and find out where it actually went wrong and who is to blame (though I would suggest blame is less important than identifying where the breakdown in the process occurred). Then when you do identify the root cause you will have built trust and clout with your team that will pay dividends especially if it turns out it really was your fault.
Taking responsibility for a problem shows a level of emotional maturity. It shows that you are confident, secure, and intelligent enough to shoulder hard issues.
Leaders don’t make excuses, they step up and make opportunities out of circumstances that are created because of a breakdown in a process.
Look at these trying circumstances as an opportunity to use your skill and knowledge to turn a negative situation into a positive one.
Use it as a learning opportunity, not just for yourself, but also your team. Show them what a leader looks like and use it to show them how to stick together as a team without casting blame on one another.
Be an example of how a person can put aside emotion, ego, and self-doubt to rise above difficulty.
Seek out win-win solutions that allow everybody in the process to walk away feeling that they gained something positive from the outcome.
Being a problem-solver, rather than playing the blame game, will bring you more personal success as well as your team and organization.
By being accountable for your area of responsibility you build trust with your management team and your subordinates.
Responding to difficult circumstances, taking accountability, and being a problem-solver will deliver far more positive outcomes than looking for someone else to blame. Leadership means taking on responsibility for things you didn’t do and finding solutions when other can’t or won’t.
Don’t be a follower hiding behind others. Be humble and helpful. Take on difficult decisions and shoulder responsibility. Lead by example.
At the end of the day, you have control over only one thing – yourself. So own yourself and own the situation. Stand tall and face the problem straightforward and with courage. Make the problems yours and you will win the day.