Hey, manager — stop blaming your staff




By Jason Jelicich

“He’s always late”


“She never listens”

“They never show any initiative”

I wish I’d had a dollar for each time I’ve heard a manager utter one of these phrases while working across hundreds of venues and thousands of staff over the past 20 years. I’d sure be sitting pretty.

In the beginning, I used to just sit there and listen passively, thinking that by showing empathy and understanding that I would be endearing myself to them and this would help our work together down the line.

I was exactly wrong.

In retrospect, I was a silent enabler, at least to some degree encouraging these managers to keep on casting blame upon their people and justify their victim perspective.

After a while I started to see a difference between businesses that had managers who seemed to have a lot to say about how their staff let them down and those that talked heir people up and took responsibility for issues that occurred; the latter where hands-down better businesses.

I started to notice traits in other managers and leaders – as well as myself – that I had previously been unaware of; that some people accept the reasonability for creating positive change and others don’t. When I really got this it slapped me around the ears because I realised that, while I thought I had this mastered in my work life, I had not be applying it to my personal life.

That was a huge wake-up call for me.

To my mind, great leaders – and indeed just about all successful and respected people – tend to not talk about their problem’ but instead about my (or perhaps our) problem. They take personal responsibility for the issues and look to find ways to resolve them for the betterment of the group.

Casting judgment and blame onto others does nothing to promote motivation or performance – in fact in achieves quite the opposite, reducing motivation, effort and care-factor. What’s perhaps even worse is that it stunts the growth of the person doing the blaming as they are always looking outside themselves for someone – or something – to change instead of taking on the lesson and learning from the experience.

It’s simple. To be effective and respected you need to take control of the challenges within your domain and do you best to solve them with the support of your team. This does not mean you have to know everything (no one does), it means that you have to put your hand up and say “I’m going to drive the change and/ or improvement that needs to take place here” and then apply your best skills and judgments to the cause. It may work or it may not, but the bottom line is that you take control over your life and move forward.

So the next time a problem occurs in your business instead of defaulting to the blame-game, look in the mirror and ask yourself what you can do to solve or address it. Then take this empowered stand to conversations with your boss, your colleagues and your team – and allow them to learn from you how the challenges of work and life may be easily dealt with when you have an open mind and a willingness to accept personal responsibility.

Jason Jelicich is the director of Barmetrix Training and may be contacted for comment on (0412) 380 475 or via email at Jason@barmetrix.com

Barmetrix is running a workshop for managers in Sydney (July 15th) and Melbourne (July 16th). Some spots are still available. Check here for more details (link: https://www.facebook.com/barmetrixworkshops) or call Jason directly.


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