As leaders, we want everyone to play on the same team.  To support each other, step up for each other, cover for each other…in essence play really nice in the sandbox, have fun and be productive.  As a customer or a guest, we appreciate a business where people work together as a team and are respectful of their teammates.

I experienced an example on the other side of the equation when teammates worked against each other.  My bride Susan and I were at a very nice restaurant celebrating our anniversary.  I ordered the fish.  When it arrived it was way over done.  It could have been used as a door stop. 

When the waiter stopped by to ask “How is your meal?” I pointed out that the fish was overdone.  The correct answer should have been, “I am so sorry sir, please allow me to have your meal redone and I will hold your wife’s meal until both are ready.  Let me make it right for you.”

That would have been nice.

Instead, our server Kenny rolled his eyes, shook his head and mumbled “Our cooks…Jeez” turned and walked away.  A moment later the restaurant manager walked over and asked, “Was there a problem with your meal?”  I answered, “Well the fish was overdone, way over done.”  At which point the manager shook his head and said, “Our cooks, we have a new cook. How can I fix this for you?  Would you like a complimentary dessert?’ 

As a Minnesotan, I politely turned down the free dessert and ate my overdone fish without a fuss.  We are taught early on in Minnesota…”Don’t fuss.”  We paid our bill, walked out of the restaurant and haven’t been back since. 

I love the expression, “Own it, Solve it”.  Instead of blaming someone else on the team, the other department, the new guy or Barb in purchasing…be a team player and solve the problem.  As a manager, give your team members the authority to solve a problem on the spot. Take full responsibility as if you personally caught the fish, cleaned the fish, cooked the fish and served the fish.  Own it, solve it.