The best leaders I know practice the art of ownership when things aren't going so great. They understand that not-going-so-great is a part of the deal when we are in the business of business, governance, management, or living.
Does this mean these leaders are constantly falling on the sword and absorbing all the blame for things gone awry? No. These wise leaders understand that getting to the source of the not-going-so-great problems usually takes careful analysis, substantive reflection, and consequential conversations. They resist mightily the temptation to quickly declare causes, identify and eliminate scapegoats, and jump to premature "solutions." In short, these thoughtful folks understand fully the law of unintended consequences - both as the triggers of not-going-so-great conditions AND in the premature reactive measures intended to heal such conditions.
By assuming their own culpability in the not-going-so-great-ness, these leaders are typically attempting to buy a smidgen of time and provide a bit of cover for the folks who work with them. That bought time affords the team a chance to carefully dissect the antecedents to the not-going-so-great circumstances, and to react with soundly reasoned remedies.
Then and only then do those wise leaders react with the needed changes in policy, adjustments to protocol, and/or changes in membership.
Through this process of ownership, these leaders enhance greatly the culture of their organization, as well as protect and retain the highest quality team players (while quietly and in dignified manner removing the poorest).
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