Pass the buck or buck up?

I’ve got a client who is frustrated with a peer of hers. This peer, you see, doesn’t realize how he comes across. He’s got it all together all the time, always ready with the perfect answer, ready to share how perfect his process is. He can come across as condescending and better-than-you (that’s the melody line I heard). So I asked my client what she’s going to do about it?

Nothing, she replied. So I challenged. She challenged back. It’s not her responsibility – that’s the responsibility of her peer’s boss. Bull. Shit. If you want a team mired in mediocrity, then just accept your teammate’s blindspots, complain about them behind their back, roll an eye or two when they don’t “get it.” Pass the buck. Someone else’s responsibility.

If you want a team of excellence? Buck up. Don’t just challenge your direct reports. Challenge everyone, especially your peers and your boss. Make. Them. Better. AND do it in love. Ask them if you can give them some truth in love. Or find the moment where you see the behavior and pull them aside to let them know how it was received and what they might have missed.

My client came up with a great plan. She didn’t want to give vague feedback on behaviors, so she thought of a very specific and recent example. She’s going to sit down with him and share her observation. She’s going to give him the gift of feedback, delivered in love, from a peer. She’s going to fight for performance rather than settling for mediocrity.

Where are you passing the buck? What are you going to do about it?

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