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Ever since society began, we humans have engaged in the fine art of scapegoating. We know that each of us make mistakes. But we don’t want to pay the price. So, what we do we do to avoid the consequences that come with our error? We blame someone else.

Sure, we’d like to convince ourselves that only children engage such blame-avoidance. But the truth is that we adults have mastered the craft. In most industries, it is known by the technical term: CYA.

Good leaders don’t blame others. Sure, leaders are usually easy targets and are often told, “Don’t take it personal.” But I say the opposite; good leaders take it personal. They are self-aware. They know their errors. They know when they make mistakes. They can withstand being held responsible for errors of the whole. And yet they still lead.

This does something for the person following. They see the risk the leader is willing to take, even risking herself for the sake of the cause. This kind of leader gains a respect and devotion few others will.

While one may perceive this as weakness, lacking cunning to avoid blame, the truth is that this proves strength. This kind of leader can absorb blame. It doesn’t effect this leader long term. Why? Because this kind of leader will be one of the few that has come to terms with human frailty and still thrives. This kind of leader has left the rat race of scapegoating. And as we all know, an exhausting race it is.

If you’re at fault, accept the blame. Humbly. But with your head high. This is a faster track to being a successful leader than typically gets credit.

– JE

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