“When a man points a finger at someone
else, he should remember that four of his fingers are pointing at himself.” –
Louis Nizer


You know to deal with people and problems directly and
assertively. However, you also know that many people in positions of authority
like pointing out that they always place the blame squarely on the person who
did not get the job done. This is, from your point of view, a sure sign that
the person in authority knows nothing about people. When a job doesn’t get done
or doesn’t get done as well as expected, it’s obvious that someone didn’t get
the job done. It’s also frequently easy to see who didn’t get it done. At that
point, the authority junkie is quick to point a finger, “The job didn’t
get done and you are the one who didn’t get it done.”


Here is the glitch. The authority junkie’s approach usually
appears to work. The problem doesn’t recur, performance improves, the job gets
done the next time. At the same time, people become more cautious, less
creative, and more concerned about avoiding the authority junkie’s ire than in
developing better ways to do the job and continuously improving their
performance. “Good enough” becomes the standard, good enough to avoid
the pointing finger of the authority junkie.


For you, the alternative to blaming and finger pointing is
automatic. “This is disappointing. You must be at least as frustrated as I
am about it. Can we see if we can figure out how to get a better outcome next
time? What would help? How can I help?” Sure, enough is enough at times,
even for you. People need to be held accountable and deal with the consequences
of poor performance. The point is that this is a down-the-road eventuality and
never where you start.