Leaders Take Responsibility. Losers Place Blame.

You might be familiar with the recent scandal involving the General Services Administration (GSA)…where they spent almost one million taxpayer dollars on a frivolous conference in Las Vegas. Most pundits covering the scandal agree it was a reckless waste of taxpayer money.

The Obama Administration predictably, and rightly, fired those responsible. But more predictably, the administration also blamed the Bush Administration.

Look, I don’t care what side of the political aisle you stand on, what I am upset about is the continued practice of placing blame on someone else. Everyone does it.

It is hardly inspiring.

Whether or not the Bush Administration is to blame, I could care less. If Obama stood up and said something to the effect of:

“The buck stops here people. Lots of poor decisions by a lot of people lead to this event. But I am taking a stand and once and for all, here is what I will do to see that this abomination never happens again.”

Now, that would be inspiring. And refreshing. And a demonstration of leadership. Finally.

I am sick of the culture that exists where people are so damn afraid to take responsibility for anything. When the hell did this happen to us?

Now apply this idea to your business. Or your customers. Or your prospects.

Bad stuff will happen. Someone in your organization will waste money and resources. Someone will deliver bad service to a customer. Or someone will botch a sales opportunity.

Losers blame someone else.

Leaders roll up their sleeves and fix the damn problem.

Your people will respond to a leader who takes action and solves the issue, and draws a line in the sand.

Customers will appreciate a leader aggressively solving a problem. And reward you with loyalty.

Leaders win over prospects when they take responsibility for a sales opportunity gone awry.

So who are you? What do you do when the time comes? And it always does…


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  • http://www.InHISNameHR.com Mark A. Griffin

    If we could only come together and stop this downward spiral.  This is far greater than a democrat and republican problem- this is a systemic issue that transcends all parties that has been growing for years.  God help us all. 

  • Todd Schnick

    yeah mark, agreed. i really hope people don’t take this as a political thing. it is a leadership thing. and both friggin’ sides do it. people want bold leaders to take the bull by the horns…

  • http://www.InHISNameHR.com Mark A. Griffin

    I agree Todd, But oh how it will be taken politically! Folks are out for blood on all sides of the issues now.  We are living in incredibly  tumultuous  business, economic and social times.  Folks just are not happy and are out to blame anyone they can.  It is going to take a lot to pull us all back together.  I was hoping the current administration was going to be able to help do that, but it looks like we are getting more torn.  Bush was no uniter either.  Unfortunately it may take a shocking event to wake people up, stock market collapse, a war, or an attack, it seemed after 911 we pulled together at least for 6 months!  

  • http://www.thegoblegroup.com/ Steve Goble

    Leadership is something that is sorely lacking across all levels of government, business, and in our educational system.  It’s scary to think how much more of this that goes on that we (as the public) is unaware of.  Great post, Todd!  Thanks!

  • Todd Schnick

    it is going to require a significant cultural shift. and that starts with a leader willing to risk power to lead the way and do the right thing… don’t know when the hell that will happen…

  • Todd Schnick

    thanks steve. yeah, agreed…this doesn’t just apply to government… it is across the board….

  • Tim Berkesch

    Great post, Todd. I am sure that you are familiar with QBQ.com – the Question Behind the Question. It deals with personal accountability – no blame or pointing fingers. True leadership!

  • Todd Schnick

    hey tim. yeah, i hadn’t thought about this and QBQ, but you are right. problem is, our culture doesn’t foster personal accountability. that has to change…

  • http://twitter.com/Write4Results Rachel A. Franco

    Great post, Todd. Yesterday, before reading this post, I posted a similar message to my Facebook wall about how absurd it was that Obama was blaming the Bush administration for the GSA fiasco. Whether Bush’s administration holds some responsibility doesn’t matter to me. This fiasco has happened under Obama’s watch, and he needs to take responsibility for it. But, as you so aptly said, Obama *always* blames others before taking responsibility himself. It is indeed a real lesson for all leaders beyond just the political spectrum. Most people always respect someone more for owning up to his or her share of the blame. Today, I’ve posted *your* post to my Facebook wall.

  • Todd Schnick

    thanks rachel. much appreciated. you know, the people who matter to you will know that you weren’t responsible, but they will certainly appreciate and respect someone who falls on the sword and takes charge…