I was going through my computer and came across a video clip I used in training some leaders. This clip was from the movie “A Bugs Life”. Long story short, a locust tells the ant, “the first rule of leadership – everything is your fault!”. This reminded me of something Francis Chan said on a Backstage Leadership session I was on.
you lead by showing
One of the questions Francis was asked was, ‘what are some of the things a leader must NEVER delegate?’ His response:
A leader must never delegate taking responsibility or blame for things going wrong.
There is sometimes a temptation for the leader to ‘look good’. To always be right. To always have the answer or never make mistakes… To always know what to do… and the list goes on.
Some leaders think it is weakness to be wrong let alone to admit your hand in your organization’s failure. On the contrary, it takes courage for the leader to own his organization or team’s failure without shifting the blame. Leader, when things go wrong where is the first place you seek fault?
A lot of leaders miss out on opportunities to build their influence by not taking responsibility when things go wrong. How can you expect those you lead to take responsibility for their part in things going wrong if you don’t show them how?
The leadership that your team see from you is the leadership they’ll not only embrace, but practice and perpetuate! Take responsibility for things going wrong and when it is their turn they are more likely to do likewise. The reason your team may not be taking responsibility for things in their care going wrong could be that you’ve taught them not to.
There are times when I’ve led very badly by blaming my team, circumstance and other environmental factors for my failure to lead. Lately, I am being challenged to self-evaluation as a leader. Leadership that does not embrace humility can never have the courage to take responsibility for things going wrong.
- How have I contributed to the failure of someone or the team I lead?
- Does the reason for failure reveal a gap in training or systems?
- What can I learn from this as a leader?
- What lessons are there for us as a team / organization?