The true test of a leader is when things don’t go as planned. Worst yet, when things fail.
In an organizational context, I have seen so many leaders who drive the project/initiative right from the beginning – yet when the project fails, they blame others. They blame senior management, the organization culture, their own team members and sometimes even the customers. It tells me something – if you decide that you want to blame “others”, you will invariably find those “others”. That is an easy choice, and the one that puts everyone down.
When leaders indulge into the blame game, they lose respect because they throw a negative vibe around. This vibe is powerful (and sometimes even viral), because it comes from someone who is supposed to be a leader. It spreads fast, harms reputation of leader and culture of the organization on a longer run.
If you are a leader at any level, here are three things worth noting:
Blaming is easy but taking responsibility, learning from mistakes and implementing those lessons to improve constantly is difficult. It is these difficult things that makes a real leader. Similarly, for an organization, building a culture where people are not afraid of taking responsibility is critical.
Leaders need to watch and choose their words. Every conversation with others is an opportunity to make a difference. When you talk negative, focus too much on problems and blame others, you are missing the opportunity.
Leadership is about using “we” language more than “I versus them”, and that kind of leadership owns the failures as much as they own their successes. It is about celebrating the contributions from each team member when team succeeds, and take collective ownership of failures, learn from them and improve. It is also about knowing when to step up and take the lead, versus when to step down and let people perform.
Leadership is not just about enjoying the fruits of success. It comes with a fair share of failures as well. We cannot be the leaders who blame others.
Join in the conversation:
Have you seen leaders who constantly blame others? How should an organization deal with such leaders?
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Have a great start into the week!