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?
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.