Why You Should Not Blame Anyone
When I hear leaders complain about their people, I know they have not mastered a core lesson of leadership: It is always our fault. Here’s why…
As a leader, my tendency is to absolve myself of any wrongdoing when a person on my team is having “issues” that affect morale or productivity. So I made the following list that I want to share with you today. This list reminds me that it is always my fault. It puts the ball back in my court and gives me the right frame of mind to proactively resolve the issues. This list points the finger at no one else but me.
So, to that struggling person on your team, here is how you should think of them. Notice how each statement begins with “I” to indicate that the responsibility falls back to you and me as leaders. At least one of these is always true…
- I should not have placed you on my team.
- I did not put you in the right position.
- I do not have the courage to be honest with you.
- I have not championed an inspiring vision.
- I am not modeling the right things for you.
- I have not created the right atmosphere for you.
- I have not been clear and direct when needed.
- I was not clear with my expectations.
- I did not define the boundaries clearly.
- I was not clear about your responsibilities.
- I have not trained you well.
- I am not investing in the relationship with you.
- I have not invested in and insisted upon your growth.
- I have not understood your needs.
- I have not empowered you.
- I have not encouraged you.
- I have not ended the relationship when it was time.
I know it sounds harsh, but this is one of the most empowering realizations as leaders—it all falls on our shoulders! While this statement may sound burdensome, when you think of it another way, it places the power to change things all within our control. This realization will free our leadership.
So, if you were to complain to me regarding a problem with anyone in your circle of influence, I would have two questions for you: What did you do to cause it? And what are you doing to repair it?
Lead. Don’t give up, don’t give in, and don’t blame others. As you apply this principle, I promise your leadership will soar to new heights.
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