Most of these “Leadership Proverbs” I’ve just picked up, absorbed and imbibed by some process of osmosis along the way and don’t know exactly whom they originated from. But when I know I’ll make reference, and when I don’t it’s not that I’m ungrateful or that I want to appear like a genius. It’s genuinely that I can’t remember. So if I’ve flogged something from you let me know and I’ll happily acknowledge it.
Give Credit and Take Blame
When you work in a team every member plays a role and the achievement belongs to the whole team. For example, even if person B’s idea is used and person A’s is discarded person A was still a vital part of the process because her idea is quite possibly what sparked person B to think her idea, which would not have occurred without person A. You get what I mean?
So when the team achieves something make sure you give the team the credit, both privately and publically. When a part of the team runs something or organises something or goes beyond the job description to get something done give them the credit. People will assume you were involved as the leader, and even if they don’t who cares? Humility is a virtue and a struggle for most everyone, and here is a great way to cultivate it. Give the credit away to your team members.
And when things fall in a heap and crash and burn you take the blame. As team leader the responsibility falls on you to make something happen. And so when it doesn’t happen the responsibility sits on your shoulders.
Now this is different from it being directly your fault. Someone else might have been at fault, in that direct sense. But you were responsible. You were responsible for the activity, you were responsible for the person, you were responsible for the oversight. Even if it wasn’t directly your fault it was directly your responsibility. It happened on your watch.So you take the blame.
This doesn’t mean that the person at fault takes no responsibility or perhaps shouldn’t expect any consequences or reprimands. All that is still important and we’ll talk about that later, accountability has to happen and responsibility honours people. It’s okay to point out, “Person A, we really needed you to come through on that.” But, even with all that, as the team leader you also need to be quick to show that, in the end, you are responsible and so you accept the blame.
Give credit and take blame. Don’t do it the other way around. It destroys teams and undermines people’s confidence in you as the leader and so erodes their trust in you. “He just takes all the credit. He’s only in this for the ego boost. She always dishes out the blame. She’s the one in charge. Am I going to be the next scapegoat she unloads failures on?”
Give credit and take blame. Your team will feel appreciated and supported and they will have increased respect and trust in you as a leader.