Henry Ford had it absolutely right, when he made the statement “Don’t Find Fault, Find a Remedy” but it seems that in today’s micromanaged culture, it is forgotten that the solution is always the end game. Leaders of today need to take a step back and really focus on the qualities that make them a leader and not focus on the faults of others. I am just as guilty of that as I sometimes seek out the problems around me…but not to have something to complain about…but to bring the issue to light and present a solution.
Pointing the finger does not solve the problem, it may illustrate potential solutions, but it is not the root cause of fixing the problem in the first place. Leaders by their very nature need to focus on facilitating change and being the very source of solutions not perpetuating the act of “There is nothing I can do” or “That decision is not in my job description” or even worse “You will just have to do it because I said so”.
Maybe it is because of the work ethic that I was raised with that I respect the leader who has not only done the job that I do, but constantly stands up and leads from the front. Doing is an Act, Directing is not an Act and Taking credit where no credit is due…well that just erodes trust. A Leader is not expected to have all the answers, but they are expected to be there when needed and to act with integrity and honesty. That is being part of the solution.
One of the main reasons why I have never explored a Management Position is because I not only expect my “Leaders” to work as hard as I do, but I also expect those that I lead to put in as much effort as I do. The reality is, most people do not eat, breathe, and sleep their career the way that I do and it is unrealistic to expect that from everyone around you…but what I am most challenged with when it comes to the expectations of those around me in nearly every job that I have had that there is a sense of entitlement that has never been earned or justified.
I am my own harshest critic and in the past I have had roles and positions that people reported to me. Much of the time they were far younger than myself and because I was lucky enough to have a work ethic instilled upon me at a very young age by two parents who have been focused on being the best at what they do…I learned very quickly that if I wanted to avoid flying cheese press forms or biting glare of a printer…you worked hard, achieved the output and got a pay check…if you didn’t…there was no favoritism it was have a nice day, here is your pink slip…see you at home for dinner.
So why is it that today, we see leaders holding the hands and weakening the bonds of the chain by focusing on the weakest links and trying to build them up? I think that it is part of the culture that has perpetuated all around us that for what ever reason thinks that sports should be not about the competition but about the team spirit, that fun is more important than the achieving of milestones, that a career is not forever…it is just until the next gig comes along.
We made this mess, but no one seems to want to take ownership of the problem and focus on the remedy. I have seen this in job after job, role after role and I just don’t know what the answer is…but I do know that there has to be a solution.
Chris J Powell