When something goes wrong, what do you do?

Most of us respond with a simple word that leads us down a destructive path.


We can’t help it. We want to know who caused the problem.

Here’s the thing: if you think that people are at the root of problems, then your focus is on the people, not the problems.

Instead of “Who?,” it would have been better to ask “What?”

“What caused this situation? What is the solution? What role can I play in reaching this solution?”

None of this is possible while playing the finger-pointing game.

As leaders, our job is to understand that everyone makes mistakes. People are people.

It’s how we handle those mistakes that dictate the consequences.

The finger-pointing game creates fear and stops people from taking on bold new initiatives.

But if we focus on “What?” instead of “Who?”, we create the space for people to take ownership without feeling attacked.

Sure, they might make mistakes, but they also have the capacity to fix them.

Instead of pointing fingers when things go wrong, apply a little kindness.

Only when you take ownership of the problem, can you take ownership of the solution.