At times we all slip into Blame, Excuses and Denial. But in reality we can change just about anything if we start by taking Ownership, Accountability and Responsibility. WE GET WHAT WE TOLERATE, in business and in life generally.
If that thought doesn’t make you uncomfortable enough, here’s another one: YOU”VE GOT THE BUSINESS THAT YOU DESERVE. Or if you’re an employee, you’ve got the job you deserve. Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t change it and deserve something better. What it means is that our business is a reflection of our own attitude and behaviour. If we want different results, we need to take ownership and take some different actions.
Back to getting what we tolerate – take a few moments to think about something or someone that you continually complain about. The complaining could be when talking to other people or it could be in your own head – eg “I wish they wouldn’t keep doing that!”. This is a sure sign that you’re tolerating something. Tolerating undesirable behaviour is bad for business, and it’s bad for us on a personal level.
The first time we see undesirable behaviour is ideally the time to address it. You ask someone to arrive at 8:50am. They turn up at 9:05am saying traffic was bad and you think “they should have set off earlier, but it’s not worth the hassle to make a big deal out of it”, so you leave it. A few days later they arrive at 9:06am and this time the car wouldn’t start or there had been an accident – not their fault so not worth a confrontation. A few months down the line and you’ve lost control. Trying to fix this unreliable person is now an annoyance that crosses your mind on a daily basis, but never quite serious enough that it’s worth dealing with today.
What happened in the above scenario? If you choose Blame, Excuses and Denial – this person has poor self-discipline, they should be able to organise themselves and it’s not your job to chase them (that’s all three: blame, excuse and denial in case you didn’t notice). And I could agree with that analysis. The trouble is… it isn’t very useful, it doesn’t achieve anything other than a feeling of self-righteousness. But it is what I would class as the ‘normal’ response.
If instead you’re prepared to look at things in a different way, as a business coach I might ask if you have trained this person to be unreliable? If you had addressed the issue – in the right way – on the first occasion, would it have developed into an ongoing problem? Is addressing something like this an area where you lack the training and skill and need to develop personally? After all, that would be understandable if you’ve never had any training – how could you expect to know? Yet most business owners or managers have this nagging thought in the back of their minds that they ought to be able to manage staff effectively. Actually like the vast majority of business skills they need to be learnt and practiced.
If you run your business on the basis that everyone and everything around you should be perfect, you’re going to be disappointed and frustrated. You’ll end up tolerating bad behaviour and get the results that naturally follow. Instead, my suggestion to you is to stop tolerating unacceptable attitudes and behaviours and take ownership. Be very clear about the attitudes and behaviours you expect. State it verbally and state it in writing if and when it helps. But congratulate in public and criticise in private – don’t make casual remarks – deal with people confidently, head-on. State what is unacceptable and what you require. State consequences, but in a suitably pleasant manner. “In order to work here I require staff to arrive no later than 8:50am” is better than saying “If you arrive after 8:50am I’m going to fire you!”.
State the behaviours and attitudes you want, and do everything possible to reinforce them. Don’t let it slip, discuss issues in private and straight away. You’ll soon discover that an environment where everyone knows what is expected of them and nothing else is tolerated is a good one. It creates success – for you and for your team.
What are you tolerating that you shouldn’t be? What action do you need to take? And what skills do you need to develop to take responsibility and be the best leader and manager that your team has ever worked for? Would this be an area that a Business Coach could help?