Editor’s Note: This post, written by Daniel Newman, was first published on MillenialCEO. Daniel Newman has kindly granted ArCompany permission to republish this post here.
The Unpredictable Nature of Leadership
If you have led long enough, I’m sure at least one plan, one perfectly concocted idea for business or life has gone awry.
Regardless of what the data said and how perfect the situation may have looked on paper, it just went wrong. Poof, the time, money and effort down the drain.
There you were, left holding the bag. The leader always holds the bag because that is what leaders do. That is why NFL head coaches get fired when their quarterbacks make wildly stupid decisions. That is also why CEO’s take the fall when earnings miss the mark or employees commit terrible errors in judgement.
The mark of a leader is not to stare backward and say who can I appoint blame to, rather they look back and say what can be learned and how can I make sure this doesn’t happen again.
When Leading is about the We and not the I, Blame has no place
Leadership is often thought of as a team sport. Something that is done for the greater good and not for the advancement of an individual.
At times this is idealism for you will cross paths with many in your life who claim to be leaders but they are merely participating in the sport for self advancement.
One way to tell is the leaders approach to failure. Since all leaders, and by all I mean every single one will experience failure throughout their time, look at the leaders actions in adversity and you will know what you have.
Have you ever worked for someone or with a “leader” who was passionate, charismatic and focused during times of prosperity only to crumble when the highs became lows?
I have encountered this on more than one occasion and it is extremely difficult when you see the once mighty fall from grace.
Early in my career I was this type of leader because I didn’t understand the full responsibility of leadership. Therefore I sought credit for any success and then to attribute blame for any shortcomings.
It took several failures to recognize that as a leader I am responsible for the good and the bad that comes from the efforts of the team. Furthermore, with maturity came the needed restraint to not blame even when I had the urge.
To Blame is Human, but it isn’t Leadership
The debate has long raged on whether leadership can be learned or if it is something you are just born with, however one thing is for certain, if blame is a demarcation between leaders and everyone else then most people are not leaders.
For anyone that leads others, they at very least must become acutely aware that blame does nothing to fix a problem moving forward nor does it serve a purpose in learning from the past.
Leaders focus on what they can control when things don’t go their way. Driving them to ask questions like what can We learn from the situation or How can we improve going forward?
Blame however is a mere distraction from progress and the leaders I know and trust understand this. Blame is for the birds, for everyone else, but not for those looking to drive the best from the people around them.
Do you avoid the urge to blame when leading others?
Image source: Simone Lovati