How to Lead When Things Go Wrong

uh oh

When things go wrong (and when they keep going wrong), our temptation is to judge the people involved as underperforming nogoodniks. (We occasionally will use stronger language.) And we jump in and fix it. How frustrating. How exhausting.

But the judging shuts people down. The jumping in teaches them that we are never-satisfied micromanagers, random tyrants, or last-minute rescuers. So they stop trying.

In other words, we make things worse–much worse.

Go the other way, instead. Rather than judging people as wrong, bad, unskilled, uncaring, incompetent, etc., choose to see them as worthy, full of potential, and deserving our care. When things go wrong, say so. And say, “I am certain you can fix this and prevent it from happening again. How can I help?”

Win: they feel good.

Win: we feel good.

Win: the problem gets fixed.

Win: we don’t have to do the fixing.


In your corner,


PS: Our attention to what’s wrong perpetuates what’s wrong. Our attention to what’s right perpetuates what’s right.


Today’s photo credit: Kalpita cc

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