“My Bad”

Very often we work in organizations where there is a culture of blame.  Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes it is a little more insidious; the bottom line is that any time we move the problem away from ourselves, we are to some degree playing the blame game, and what ensues breeds fear- the poison pill for any organization.

Effective leadership- and we are all leaders to some degree- means that instead of looking for the “responsible party”, we first look to ourselves.

Imagine instead of asking: “Who is responsible” and “When are they going to solve the problem?”, we shift our thinking, and ask, “How am I responsible?” and “How can I be part of the solution?”

Can you see the shift?  When we are blaming, we are victims.  When we take responsibility, we are empowering ourselves.  And truly taking responsibility means more than lip service.

A recent un-natural disaster may highlight my point:

I was watching the morning news- I have been keenly interested in the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, where oil continues to spew out of broken pipes 5000 feet on the sea floor.

There was a lot of finger pointing; the blame game is clearly underway in many ways.  One of the questions asked-  “Who is responsible?”

And I realized, as a profound feeling of sadness came over me:

I am.

I am responsible.

At this point I could launch into my reasoning, but for the purposes of this blog, it is unnecessary- and most of you probably get it anyway.

I accept my responsibility for this disaster. My mind quickly shifted then- to:  What can I do to help solve the problem?

The next time you see the problem as “out there”, pause- take responsibility- and be the example of effective leadership.

How am I responsible? What can I do to help?  Then take action.

Imagine if every person watching the disaster in the Gulf took responsibility- and did ONE thing to help solve the problem?   I know I did.

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