I’ve noticed two main responses to any problem at work.
- Blame distribution
- Solution implementation While most people employ both to varying degrees, we also seem to tend towards one or the other.
Blame distribution is where we sell to find the person to be blamed. It’s not about find the responsible party but that may happen as a lucky consequence.
During blame distribution, you should expect to see email chains resurfaced with sections highlighted or underlined. People will point out how they “did their job” (usually to the letter) or that this issue didn’t fall under their remit.
Blame distribution can affect managers (who do I need to be upset with) and lower-level staff (how can I make sure I’m not blamed).
Usually, the actual problem remains while no one addresses it.
Solution implementation is all about fixing the problem. It doesn’t matter what (or who) caused it unless that information relates to fixing the issue. After the immediate issue is fixed, there may also be a process of finding out the root cause of the problem to avoid any repetition.
Someone solution implementation involves challenging staff to raise their standards, highlighting manager mistakes, and maybe even disciplinary action, but that’s not the first thing; It comes later.
I hope that I’m more of a solution implementer than a blame distributor but I know that I fall prey to the later too.