The Big Question No One Ever Asks

“So, what do you think made the difference?” I asked.  Julia was debriefing her meeting with the team.

“The team is really a good team,” Julia began, “but they were allowed to create an environment where they had no personal responsibility in the outcomes of their department.  Ultimately, I am accountable for the output of the team, but I cannot do the work alone.  My effectiveness, as a manager, is judged by my ability to get the team working together, solving problems and making decisions.”

“But, what made the difference?” I repeated.

“The difference was shifting the environment where they could confront the real issues facing the team.  Their previous manager had allowed them to blame machines and circumstances.  Like co-dependents, the manager fed the team and the team fed the manager.  I had to interrupt the cycle.  I had to give them permission to ask and answer the big question that no one ever asks.”

“And, that question would be?”

“How have I contributed to the problem?” she replied.

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