Joined: February 15, 2005
From: Indianapolis, IN
I have a small yellowed article posted on one of the bulletin boards in my office. In bold print it reads, "Every dxxx thing is your own fault." It has been referenced too many times to count. The quote is cited from Hemingway?s novel Green Hill of Africa , in which he recalls how he missed an easy shot on a prized sable bull. He could have blamed it on his guide, who surprised the animal, but he doesn?t. He concludes that if you are any good, every **** thing is your own fault.
It is difficult as a leader to admit, ?Hey, this is how I screwed up and here is how I am going to fix it.? It takes courage. To be successful, leaders must accept total responsibility for everything. If you don?t, you will always find excuses for not achieving what you want.
Finger pointing and blaming surfaces most prominently during times of stretch and stress.
Eric was a strong willed leader of his therapy organization. Although those on his leadership team had doubts about taking on a new line of business outside their niche, he insisted that they stretch in this direction. He listened primarily to the marketing and sales division and forged ahead. He did not gain commitment from the group before moving forward with the project and severely stressed the resources of the team. When resignations began to occur, Eric was quick to blame his team?s lack of commitment. He avoided his own responsibility in the rapidly deteriorating picture.
Even beyond the admitting, a great leader has the opportunity to take things a step further. How do we all learn from this mistake? In Jim Collin?s well known book Good to Great he writes of conducting ?autopsies? and conducting these autopsies without blame. In a group of their colleagues successful leaders reviewed flawed decisions to see at what points things went wrong, who they didn?t listen to and give credit to those who had the correct vantage point. What will everyone do in the future to ensure this failure doesn?t happen again? They wanted others to learn from their mistakes.
In our world of therapy this applies as well to our patient outcomes. One of several valuable practices we did as a rehab team was to review some of the more difficult cases post discharge. Could we have developed the plan more quickly, could we have facilitated a better clinical outcome, did we make the best use of the patient?s resources? There was never finger pointing or blame only how could we have done it better.
What example do you set for responsible leadership?
How comfortable are you at looking in the mirror when things don?t go as planned?