On Leadership–Placing Blame

The results were in. The project had “gone south” as they say. Actual numbers were far from projected. Team members were discouraged. Worse, they were scrambling to justify themselves by placing blame on others. It was as if a serious virus had invaded the body of the organization spreading disease and death.

Now is the time for the leader to step forward. Can she bring everyone together and salvage something in order to move forward into the future. After all, things fail. Not all projects are successful.

But the leader, oh what a narcissist or worse. The leader places blame. 

“If only the economy were better.”

“If only the designer had done a better job.”

“If only the sales people were better.”

“If only….”

How about–“I’m sorry I let people down. I failed to plan adequately. I failed to get the team working together. I failed to make decisions quickly enough.”

One of my spiritual mentors says that when things are bad there are two responses we should never make. These responses to suffering, failure, bad results will prohibit any further spiritual (or other) growth.

These responses are placing blame and festering in bitterness.

Experience comes from making bad decisions. Wisdom comes from learning from those bad decisions.

The leader could go to the team and own up to the mistakes and then leading a reflection on what went wrong in order to position the team (or committee, business, church, non-profit) for future success.

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