Leaders take responsibility – not blame. This recent post from Leadership First doesn’t quite get this right – I understand the sentiment but not the practicality in real teams.

Rather than ‘leaders take all of the blame’ – I would focus more on leaders take all of the ownership and responsibility. They should certainly shoulder the blame for the team under their control – but all of the blame?

The key leadership behaviours of Responsibility, Accountability and Intention are fundamentals in the Emerging Leaders Program, Team Leader Program as well as the Executive Leadership Program at IMLD.

Included within the IMLD leadership frameworks is the personal responsibility model, or AIR?BLEEDS model, looking at the more effective and least effective leadership behaviours. The model is:

Accountability, Intention, Responsibility and Blame, Leniency, Excuses, Exoneration, Defence, and Shame

AIRBLEEDS - Personal Responsibility and Productivity Model

Team members don’t learn from mistakes if all of the blame is shouldered by the leader. Teams learn when they understand the consequences – good or bad – of their actions. Leaders can protect their team from negative talk and consequences, but they shouldn’t hide them from actions to improve and possible consequences – there is great power in shouldering that together.

I also don’t think they should give away ‘all the credit’. Leadership takes something – and that should also be acknowledged. I think the sentiment should be for leaders not to take credit for teams work, and certainly not take full credit for work that isn’t their own. I do think they should be able to acknowledge their small part in leading the team. A leader sharing in the success of a team also can also demonstrate pride with the team – as a team member that is something I valued highly – when my leader demonstrated clearly that he / she was proud of the team.

Great leaders take credit and blame along with their team and business – they do not have to martyr themselves to make / prove a point.

Related Articles:

Personal Responsibility & The AIR/BLEEDS Model

Does Blame Tarnish Your Leadership Ability?

Exoneration: The Standard You Walk Past Is The Standard You Accept