"Why Do Leaders Struggle and The Blame Game"
Excerpt from The Best Kept Secret Podcast (Part 1/8)
A Conversation with Jay Kingley and Joran Oppelt
Jay: Now, Joran, I know that you spend a huge chunk of your time working with executives, working with leadership and their teams, trying to make things more effective. I would love your take on what you see as the big issues as to why leaders often struggle in that role.
Joran: Well, you've set it up pretty well. We're not taught how to lead historically. Even when someone goes through the academic process or business school, we're shown or taught, and it's rarely modeled, I'll say it's rarely modeled well for us.
In an increasingly complex business environment, as we go forward into the future, we are surrounded by many screens and devices. We've got this continuous partial attention happening. And we've got scaling, ideally scaling organizations that we're leading. There's a tendency to blame, and finger point away from ourselves at the market or other circumstances. And you know, there are things that happen in organizations like, people just not showing up, people not being honest, people not hitting their goals, people holding back, people withholding, where they used to bring a bunch of great ideas to the table. Ineffective meetings, right? Staff churn, staff turnover, all of this stuff. As a leader, you can point at that and say, well, I don't have a good team. Right? You can blame them. You can blame what's happening around you. The reality is that you need to be showing up as a leader.
The other thing you can do is finger-point at yourself. The other thing you can do is blame yourself. I deal with a lot of clients who say; I don't want to be that kind of manager. I came from that environment. I'm trying to do this differently. I'm trying to show up as a different kind of manager or director or CEO, and they don't step into that leadership role.
You mentioned people leaving jobs. A recent report, "The Future of Work," said that 65% of millennials have left a job because of their manager. It's the platitude that people don't leave bad jobs; they leave bad managers. This is the reality that we live in.
So, stepping up, being a leader, and knowing that the best leaders lead from the bottom of the pyramid, they get the best results through other people. That's a key to being a leader in this future complex business world we're all co-creating.
Jay: You said something I think is very interesting. I want to explore a little bit with you about blame. People often point the finger of blame outwards, and you're saying, well, often they do, but there are also many cases where people point that finger back at themselves. Then you get what I call the "woe is me." And nobody wants to be around "woe is me." It's that black cloud, so to speak, of doom and gloom.
Joran: It could be, "Woe is me," or it could be, "Oh, well, I was never shown; I was never taught." And as a team member, it's like, read a book or something. Go study up, brush up on how to do this, man; you're leading us. You know?
Jay: Right. So I wanted you to hit on the difference between blame and briefly, and we'll go even further and say, making excuses versus honest learning and saying, you know, I want to understand what happened here. I want to understand why it happened because it wasn't the outcome I wanted and what I will do differently next time.
So that the outcome is certainly different and, hopefully, more along the lines of doing that. And, when you go through that process, do you have any points of view about whether you should be self-reflective? Should that be, I need to get my team members involved and have an honest, constructive conversation. Is it a combination of your experience, Joran? What works best?
Joran: I'm a huge believer in this line from T. Harv Eker. It's my favorite quote in the world. "How you do anything is how you do everything." So, look at how you're showing up in all of your relationships, your friendships, your family relationships. How are you leading in other ways? How are you solving those problems? How are you communicating clearly and effectively in those situations? How are you learning from things you could have said differently or framed differently, or how are you getting better all the time? And then just do that with your team.
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ABOUT THE Author
Joran Slane Oppelt is an international speaker, author and consultant with certifications in coaching, storytelling, design thinking and virtual facilitation.