Some years ago I witnessed a Senior Manager querying his direct reports on why their teams' performances were below expectations. The Senior Manager went on to ask his reports:
"...don't your people get it?".
The Direct Reports replied with a variety of answers each of which consisted of excuses, vague promises of 're-engagement', action plans to 'fix' the problem and suggestions for further meetings to workshop the 'real issues' and implement 'real solutions'.
What struck me in listening to this interaction was that no one within this group considered that they, the management team, might not 'get it'.
I began to wonder - what if they were the problem?
Perhaps the targets were unrealistic?
Perhaps their management skills were in need of improvement?
Perhaps they had become so entwined in the 'system' of trickle-down management that they no longer had the capacity (or the will) to swim against the stream?
Or perhaps they simply had never been exposed to the type of leadership that permits, that condones, that encourages personal & corporate vulnerability?
The personal desire (need even) to 'fix' that which is considered 'broken' is very powerful. This is why the ability to delineate between "self" and "role" is an essential element in exercising leadership.
In exercising leadership an individual must have the ability to stand amongst that which is 'broken' and allow the system to operate in dis-equilibrium. The individual must possess the skills to allow a measure of chaos to encroach the system AND the people within the system.
Only then will those same people and that same system begin to provide insights into what really is 'broken'.
Only then can the real questions be discovered.
And only then will everyone in that system be capable of considering the question 'could it be.....me?'