You know the expression: Whenever we point a finger at someone else, the remainder point back at you.
There’s also “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” and “Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean” and “Be the change you want to see.”
Humankind has figured out that personal responsibility is the foundation of all positive change. And yet why is it in business — (and government and sports and, and, and) — we blame everything on the leader? Why is it that most every problem is “their” fault or “his” fault or “her” responsibility? Why is there so much “they” and so little “me”?
I recently facilitated an offsite for 50 leaders/managers from a well-known global company. Minutes before the closing session, 30 of the attendees pulled me into their private breakout session and wanted help telling the leader what she was screwing up, and had better change. OMG: A Marie Antoinette moment! In hindsight: They had a few legitimate concerns — (which, as any great leader should, their leader asked them to share, and she addressed them fully) — but mostly they wanted to play victims. They wanted someone else to take care of their problems for them, including fixing the global economy and ensuring them that none of their jobs were going to go away. (Good luck on that one.)
I see this over and over…all around the world…at high-performing and best-place-to-work companies, as well as at places where no one should work.
Yes, great leaders and great managers are crucial to engagement, happiness, and great and fulfilling work. But they’re only 50% of that mix. You, me and everyone who works owns the other 50%.
What ever happened to personal accountability? Don’t ask leaders to sweep your porch if you’re not willing to. Don’t ask leaders to solve problems you should own.
Don’t whine: Start being the change you want to see!
(Now…if only “they” would fix my taxes, my dysfunctional family, my trips through airport security, my waistline and a few other things…Life would be perfect!)