Wrong vs. Missing

Imagine if your boss walked into your office after a meeting about a particular initiative you were heading up and said, “You’ve been working on this project for a couple of weeks now and from the report you gave at the meeting, it’s already behind schedule. What’s going wrong?”

How does that feel?

Let’s change your boss’s comment, just slightly. “You’ve been working on this project for a couple of weeks now and from the report you gave at the meeting, it’s already behind schedule. What’s missing?”

Now how do you feel?

Approaching a problem from the vantage point of what’s missing instead of what’s wrong can bring a very different energy to the conversation. Rather than feeling blame, additional negative pressure or fear, we can more easily identify a way ahead because we are focusing on what we need to find, build or create that could help us progress.

If you’re the boss, consider swapping ‘wrong’ for ‘missing’ and see how it feels, both to you and to the person you lead.