Less credit, more blame

14 01 2015

“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” ~Arnold H. Glasow

When I write my annual memo to the board of directors, I make sure that each section of the report (corresponding to divisions of the company) highlights the name of the leader in charge of that division.  I want the board to see who should get credit for their team’s accomplishments.  The board may have never met some of my division leaders, but they know their name, and can associate good things with those leaders.  Maybe it gives them a leg up further in their career, maybe not, but leaders of successful divisions should have their name celebrated along with the accomplishments.

When we make a mistake as a team, those above me need to know that it’s my team, so I own the mistake, ultimately.  The perpetrator of the mistake might end up having a conversation with me about how we can avoid it in the future, or how we could do better (count on that), but I would not throw one of my leaders “under the bus” to escape blame.  There’s 3 reasons for this.  1.  It’s just the right thing to do.  2. I wouldn’t want to be perceived by my superiors as the kind of guy who throws his team under the bus.  3. If you throw your team under the bus, they won’t have your back when you need them to give 110%.  Some might call this enlightened self-interest – and they should, but it’s still the right thing to do.

Own your teams mistakes, and celebrate your team when they make you look good.  It’s a win-win situation.

Speaking of less and more…


Rubes cartoons used with permission. www.rubescartoons.com




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