Imagine you have some news about a problem with a product, like a screenshot showing a drop in its stability for a few hours.
In teams characterized by a fragile relationship with the leader, there is often hesitation to bring such incidents into the spotlight, particularly during all-hands meetings. They're scared of getting blamed.
But in teams with trust and a good connection, they're not afraid of discussing fluctuations in their Key Performance Indicators. In doing so, they demonstrate their capacity to maintain control over their systems. They operate on a foundation of concrete data and empirical facts. They can evaluate these failures within the broader context of the product's value and potential losses. They use these experiences to make their work better in the future.
It all depends on trust.
Leaders need to create an environment where mistakes are opportunities to learn, not reasons to blame. When something goes wrong, it's not the team's fault. It's just a fact that needs to be understood, ranked in importance, and learned from.
We repeatedly overuse the sentence: "A leader takes the blame".
Yet often, it should be more like: "A leader takes the blame and fear out of the team".