“It’s Not Her. It’s You.”


“It’s Not Her. It’s You.”

A couple of weeks ago, I said those exact words to a leadership team who was lamenting the stress caused by an employee.

I have been working with said organisation for a while and I had met said ‘bad apple’ on a number of a occasions. It certainly didn’t sound like they were talking about the same person.

A couple of the teams I work with joke that I bring ‘tough love’. Years in investment banking taught me that being direct in a kind, loving way can sometimes be the best medicine for issues that persist. Time is too precious to go round in circles or tiptoe around an issue that clearly needs attention.

Remember, depth psychologist Carl Jung’s contention that:

“What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.”

I love challenging teams. There really is no point paying me to help you have the same conversations that you are used to having.

So, what was different for this team?

  1. I asked which team member would confidently state that were this employee to leave, the issues they blame her for would disappear. Yes, you guessed right – no one could.
  2. I asked who would agree with me that if they had the right culture, the behaviors they were seeing in said employee would not survive, let alone thrive. Yes, they all agreed.

Now, we were ready to have the right conversation – which unsurprisingly required some conflict (which we kept healthy).

They left with a solid plan to help them address the root cause (not symptom) of the problem and create the right conditions for their people to thrive.

Now, think about your team – where are you pointing fingers and what are you really avoiding?

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