Taking responsibility for your actions and their outcomes is a big part of being a mature adult. Unfortunately, this can be an extremely difficult process for us. Learning not to blame others is hard because taking responsibility can be embarrassing. If you messed up during a project or a presentation, taking ownership of that error is hard. It can be even more difficult if you believe that there will be professional repercussions for the mistake. But blaming others for your own mistakes and actions comes at a cost. The cost is your legitimacy as a team member and as a leader. It will make others resentful, and you will also become resentful of them as well. Taking responsibility for your mistakes will help you become a better leader and will also help you learn the right lessons long term.
Taking Responsibility Is Part Of Maturing
Often, young and immature leaders have a problem taking responsibility for their actions. They don’t have the wisdom to understand what that kind of selfish behavior leads to. A more mature leader has seen teams and even entire organizations torn apart because of leaders who failed to take responsibility and never learned the correct lessons from their mistakes. Everybody can get better at being a leader, and that means learning how to take responsibility even when it isn’t the easy thing to do. Even when it is public and embarrassing.
Failing To Take Responsibility Means You Don’t Learn The Right Lessons
Taking responsibility isn’t just about your teammates’ feelings. It is also about learning the right lessons from the event. If you can’t take ownership of your mistakes, then you won’t learn what actually went wrong. When the same situation comes up later, you are likely to make the same type of mistake. That cycle breaks when you take responsibility and honestly evaluate your performance and your actions.
Blaming Others Leads To Resentment From All Sides
When you blame other people, those people grow resentful. If they are your team members, they may stop giving you their full effort. And you grow to resent them as well, because you feel they are the ones who made the mistake, and that they reacting inappropriately to your blaming them. When you take responsibility for your actions, the opposite happens. Your team comes to respect you and they may even start to emulate you and your values.
When you fail to take responsibility for your mistakes, you cause resentment and dissention within your team. You make it harder for your teammates to trust you, and that brings the overall efficiency of the team down. Moreover, you also won’t be able to honestly evaluate your work and go back and learn the correct lesson if you blame other people. You should make an effort to take ownership over your own actions and step up and voice responsibility for your mistakes. When something goes right, a leader spreads praise throughout their team. But when something goes wrong, they are willing to take responsibility. This is how leaders get the most out of their teams and themselves.
Regina Fasold is a seasoned Executive Coach and Leadership Expert. Her extensive professional background and her 10+ years of experience as a Global Executive Coach have allowed her to assist over 300 senior executives in corporations throughout the United States and in over 25 countries around the world.