TheUC 052: Good Leaders Take Responsibility. Bad Leaders Place Blame

TheUC 052

Good leaders take responsibility and never place blame. Everyone is ready to take credit when things go well. Yet, it is all finger pointing at others when things go south. Blame is easy. Bad leaders blame someone or something else. But blame is unproductive and detrimental. Being a productive leader means taking responsibility. This discussion focuses on recognizing the difference between blame or fault and being a strong leader and taking responsibility.  Truly stepping up and taking responsibility creates the opportunity to innovate and build value.  So don’t place blame.  Take responsibility!

Don’t Take the Blame…Take Responsibility

Blame is unproductive…it is a post mortem, backwards looking exercise.

Responsibility is forward looking.

Previous leadership discussions:

  • Bad leaders are ‘resolute’ which is just another word to excuse being stubborn and closed minded
  • Good leaders will practice productive patience in leadership
  • Good leaders take responsibility…NOT blame. No one needs to play the blame game or even be a martyr. Martyrs are by definition dead so they don’t make very good leaders.  They just provide an excuse or rationalization.

Our political system is stagnant because it is so chock full of blame and righteous indignation. Only responsibility can create progress. Blame is the same as a temper tantrum. Bad leaders cry and whine and blame other people because they aren’t smart enough to be solution oriented.

Our justice system is also about assigning blame rather than taking responsibility. When someone is not indicted they see this as a misguided message that someone was right and someone else was wrong. Taking responsibility is being better than being so insecure you have to prove someone else wrong so no one will notice that you are a bad leader.

SO much time is wasted playing the blame game. There is NO progress in proving someone is right and even MORE time is wasted subsequently proving someone else is WRONG.  There aren’t any true right or wrong answers in business.  There is only more and less prepared.  Good leaders are prepared and, thus, willing to take responsibility. Bad leaders place blame to distract from the fact that they are unprepared.

Bad leaders dig in and hide being “being resolute. However, saying you would ‘do everything exactly the same even with 20/20 hindsight’ is nothing but excusing yourself for being cowardly, LAZY, insecure and ignorant.

Good leaders are smart enough to be contemplative not resolute.  A thinking person would want to take responsibility appreciate other perspectives rather than hide behind “I did everything right” when the outcome was poor.

So how do we take responsibility?  Taking responsibility starts with accepting the notion that NO ONE ELSE IS COMING.  No one else will save you. No one else will clean up the mess.  YOU need to be the one to accept responsibility.

What happens when you take responsibility?  That’s when you have opportunity to innovate.

Many excellent companies were built because someone was willing to take responsibility which made them prepared and smart enough to recognize a need in the market place and instead of waiting for someone else to come along. Taking responsibility made the leader bold enough and prepared enough to seize the opportunity.

Remember these things:

  • Be smart enough to recognize the difference between fault or blame & responsibility
    • Claiming good intentions do NOT excuse you from responsibility for the outcome.
    • Stepping up and taking responsibility paves the way for progress. Taking or placing blame isn’t helpful or productive for anyone.
    • Taking responsibility frees you up to actually drive results, progress and innovation.