The Blame is Always on the Leader

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Various, Viewpoint

 

Photo on guardian.co.uk
 
 
 
In John Maxwell’s book, The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, he writes, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” This principle is seen in every major area of life. If a family is struggling, then there is some connection with the husband not taking responsibility of leading his family. If a sports team is not doing well, then we have to look at the coach’s ability to lead.

More recently, we have seen this principle play out in the whole fiasco with BP and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP just recently asked Tony Hayward to step down as the CEO and Robert Dudley will take over as the new CEO effective October 1st.

In order to cut Tony Hayward some slack, we will have to concede that there were a lot of factors involved in this oil spill debacle that went beyond just his leadership. Also, we have to look at the overall “system” or “structures” that produce people like Hayward.

But once again, the principle of “everything rises and falls on leadership” applies in this situation with Hayward.

After the oil spill, Hayward made some comments that questioned his ability to lead (at least from a PR and perception perspective). In light of these comments, there are several leadership principles that Hayward failed to uphold:

1) Don’t blame but take responsibility. Good leaders always take responsibility for things that happen under their leadership, even if they did not have a direct influence in the situation. Good leaders always know that the buck stops with them.

2) Don’t over-estimate or under-estimate the situation. Good leaders are able to assess a situation well. They get the facts and process them quickly. This enables them to make good decisions, which often times have to be made on the spot.

3) Don’t make it about you. Good leaders know that they are to serve a greater purpose or mission. The focus should never be on them. They know that being a servant leader entails great humility and sacrifice. Good leaders think less about themselves and more about the greater good.

Comments are closed.