Make progress or make excuses
One of the foremost characteristics of successful people is an inside-out personality. As a leader it is critical to be accountable for your actions and mistakes and to get your team to do so too. An inside out personality is when you view yourself as the source of change, the solution to the problems you have. When something goes wrong, you look inside and ask yourself: what can i do to better the situation? This very action, ensured by taking a % of the blame, pushes you towards being accountable, over being a victim and hence you make progress over making excuses.
An inside out personality is when you see yourself as the solution.
The opposite of being inside-out is outside-in. An outside-in personality is when your first instinct when something goes wrong is to point the finger at others and/or to distance yourself from being a part of the solution. Outside-in people see change coming from outside of them, their problems in relationships or failure in projects are not in their minds due to them but to the failures of others on the team or to factors they can not control. Outside-in people inevitably focus on excuses over progress and become victims in their own minds. Outside-in people also nearly always achieve less at work and frequently harm team dynamics as with too many victims, you will fast see team motivation levels dipping. So like it is important to be inside-out yourself as a leader, it is also important to not accept victims – outside-in thinkers – on your team.
Great managers do not accept outside-in mentalities in their staff.
The best ways to prevent outside-in mentalities forming in your team are to firstly check for it during the interview process of any new staff member. Secondly from day one in their induction, leave clear that you sponsor and push for their professional development; getting better is not optional but required. Also let them know you believe in their potential but also from experience know that potential will only be released when proactive characters push themselves to be accountable. Also add assessing “inside-out” into their personal feedback sessions, asking them to reflect whether they have been mainly inside-out or outside-in during the past month. They should reflect on their triumphs and failures in this area and of course if you don’t agree with their assessment provide your own. The most important thing throughout is to leave clear that team work is only achieved through each member being accountable for their responsibility and inside-out work personalities are required to achieve that.
Inside-out attitudes form a vital part of bonding teams together.
A handy way to see the value of being inside-out, is to view it through the 90:10 principle. This principle outlines that 10% of life is made up by what happens to you and 90% by how you react to this. This isn’t a work concept but a life one. If you, or anyone on your team, falls into the pit trap of believing life is controlled by having good things happen to you in the 10%, then unfortunately you spend 90% of your time in hands of fate. Whereas real achievers, not just at work, but in the most important game of life i.e. being happy, are those who accept fully that no matter how lucky or unlucky they are, they control their own progress made. Believing in and practicing the inside-out personality can not only make you a better leader but also a better person and can do the same for your whole team.
What to do?
How inside out are you out of 10? Why did you give yourself that mark? What micro things are you very accountable for? What things are you less accountable? Think about things like: attitude (positive or not), achieving goals, self-development, dealing with conflict, time-keeping, priority setting and reflecting. Give yourself a mark out of 10 for each. How are you doing in general? Is their a pattern to what things you feel more or less responsible for?