We’ve all been on this ride before, playing the blame game! Sometimes it happens internally but more often than not it happens with a client. We recently had an issue where the blame could be placed on either party, however the bottom line is someone made a mistake and important information was leaked.
So in this case, who is to blame? The client doesn’t want that blame and you certainly don’t either but generally you are left to fall on your sword, apologizing and figuring out how to move forward.
As leaders it is our job to help our team navigate these muddy waters and often we are the ones putting our best face forward with not only the client but also their account manager. Here are some steps you can take as a leader to handle these with grace.
- Get with your team internally and find out what happened! Was a mistake made? If so you can deal with that, but unless this person is known for this they are human and don’t need you to beat them up over the error. Figure out what went wrong and create steps to keep it from happening again.
- No error made? Then was it poor communication on our part or the clients or combination of both? Often this is the case! The client said do X we did X but really the client wanted Y and made X and Y! The resolution is the same, figure out how to help the client not have this happen again
- Gather your internal resources and make sure they know that you are aware of the issue, you have worked out the steps internally and will make sure the client feels heard and cared for!
- Finally, never (and I mean NEVER) throw your team under the bus! This is simply amazingly bad leadership! If you have a personnel problem that is dealt with IN the family not out!! Use terms like “we and us” not “they or them or he or she” you don’t ever want your team to feel like they are being singled out! Not only does this undermine your leadership it also makes you look really bad in front of your client!
Ultimately you as the leader are going to have to take the lead on fixing the issue (if there is one) and making sure the client and the internal team feel like they have been heard and the resolution is solid!
Happy leading! Share an experience you had where a team member made an error and you had to resolve it!