Perhaps there is something in the water, but just recently several people have had conversations with me about their colleagues and bosses finding faults only.
Ranging from the general “No matter what I do they always find something wrong with it/missing.”
To the specific “Last week I handled an incident, kept the company legal and product on the shelf, what do I get, 3 people wittering about some administration I haven’t done.. no thanks for working your weekend or we appreciate this and when can you do Y for us…just people with nothing better to do than find faults.”
Now these people are bright, self starters, they’re talented and committed, just the sort of people you want to keep in an organisation. They regularly go the extra mile without creating a song and dance. But now they seemed to be tuned in to people only telling them what they’re doing wrong / missing. A case of too much stick and not enough carrot.
In each case we talked about the intentions behind the person finding fault. Was it well intentioned, did they care about the way it was received, did they take time to understand why? Or were they having a prima donna moment, feeling all self righteous because they’d been able to point out something that had been missed/not done yet/ was wrong. In other words were their ego’s running away with them.
As a teenager if I was having one of my moments pointing out everything that was wrong, my mum would just say “fault finders should be fault menders” and then ask me how I was going to put everything right. I of course would point out that actually none of this was my fault and so why should I have to do anything to put it right. Eventually I realised that if I didn’t want to help and put things right I should keep my ego to myself.
As a leader what’s your praise to fault finding ratio? You’re setting the tone, are your staff following suit?
Let’s face it if you whip your donkey hard enough it’s either going to stop or bite you – and you wouldn’t believe the number of people who are surprised when this happens.