Do Not Blame Others
Blame is driving in reverse gear.
Opening Case Study :
Warren Buffet: A Responsible Leader
Someone who epitomizes our principle of not playing the blame game is American businessman, successful leader and dedicated philanthropist, Warren Buffet. Since his childhood, Buffet has held himself accountable for not only his successes and failures, but for everything in between. Known as the “Wizard of Omaha” or “Oracle of Omaha”, Buffet was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the second of three children. From a very young age, Buffet set his sights on his goals. He identiﬁed what he wanted, he held himself accountable for results and he made it happen.
As a youngster, Buffet sold gum, Coca-Cola or magazines door to door, all while also holding a job in his grandfather’s grocery store. To make extra money, he sold golf balls and stamps, and detailed cars. Buffet made everything count—in 1944, on his ﬁrst income tax return, he took a $35 deduction for the use of his bicycle and watch on his paper route. Talk about accountability! In high school, he bought a farm and invested in a business his father owned. After completing his BS in Business Administration, he was rejected by Harvard Business School. Again, though, his persistence won out, as he was eventually accepted to Columbia Business School, where he earned his MS in Economics in 1951.
In 1962, Buffet ofﬁcially became a millionaire. He eventually took control of a textile manufacturing ﬁrm, Berkshire Hathaway, where he gained even more wealth
through his savvy investments. In 2008, he was named the richest person in the world, with a net worth of $62 billion, surpassing Bill Gates on the Forbes list.
The enormous success of Warren Buffet is a testament to his personal accountability—of relying on nobody but himself to see his goals through and leading his team on the right path. But please be aware: success here does not equal money. Success is when you realize that your life is all about accountability, and that only you can make things happen for yourself. Whatever your goal is in life, and in business, do it and do it well. You can only rely on yourself to get these goals accomplished. Accountability leads to accomplishment.
Despite Buffet’s enormous wealth, as further evidence of his commitment to personal accountability, he doesn’t plan on leaving his money to his three children. Buffet wants them to be accountable and responsible for their own successes in this world, just as he was. He once said, “I want to give my kids just enough so that they would feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing.”
Good leaders take responsibility and never place blame. Everyone is ready to take credit when things go well. Yet, it is all ﬁnger pointing at others when things go south. Blame is easy. Bad leaders blame someone or something else. But blame is unproductive and detrimental. Being a productive leader means taking responsibility. There is a difference between blame or fault and being a strong leader and taking responsibility. Truly stepping up and taking responsibility creates the opportunity to innovate and build value. So, don’t place blame. Take responsibility!
How do you know if you’re a blamer?
You’re hesitant to accept any kind of responsibility for your choices and actions, especially if they’ve led to an unfavorable result.A blamer also tries to get out of a sticky situation. They’ll intentionally make it appear to be somebody else’s fault, even if they’re partly or fully to blame.
But the crazy thing is, these same people that continue to point the ﬁnger and make their employees feel insecure, are also usually the ﬁrst to take the credit when everything pans out the way it should and champagne bottles are popped open.
The short of it is: bad leaders blame, great leaders don’t!
Here are 5 reasons why successful leaders never blame others:
REASON #1: When You Don’t Blame Others, You Become Resilient
To be resilient is to recognize that if you are dissatisﬁed with certain aspects of your team then it is your responsibility to take the initiative and do something about it.
TIP: Take responsibility for your actions—stop whining, blaming others, and pointing ﬁngers if you don’t get what you want.
REASON #2: When You Don’t Blame Others, You Become More Conﬁdent
Lack of conﬁdence in ourselves and our abilities is a major reason we blame others when something goes wrong.Instead of
being open or curious about learning more, a part of us shuts down. Sometimes we blame ourselves as much as blaming others. Focusing on why we failed at something does nothing more than chip away at our conﬁdence; instead, dig down and uncover what we can learn from the experience.
TIP : Consciously and deliberately move into an exploratory frame of mind that is more curious about learning than shameful of making mistakes.
REASON #3: When You Don’t Blame Others, You Stop Making Excuses for Yourself
Blaming others for our own actions is nothing more than making excuses for ourselves. In the process, we will have learned nothing from what has transpired and so the lesson inevitably will have to be learned again…and on it goes.
TIP : Start to question your thoughts and probe deeper into why you default to “blaming others.” Ask yourself, “Is this really true?” Often you will ﬁnd the basis of those thought are just plain silly! The key is to question your thinking because once you do, you often discover that what you think you believe really isn’t true at all.
REASON #4: When You Don’t Blame Others, You Allow Space for Personal Growth
If you don’t, you will wake up some day and realize that you are no closer to being the person you want to be than you were years ago. You will ﬁnd that you’ve aged, but never grown into your potential.
TIP: Realize that the next step in living a life full of value and meaning for you will not reveal itself in the future—it is to be taken now.
REASON #5: When You Do Not Blame Others You Become The Victor, Not the Victim
When you feel the victim, you gain power over the situation by blaming other people for your situation.
Loss of control over one’s life is always associated with feelings of helplessness. There is a very clear link between mental toughness and the way we approach our helplessness.
TIP: With each problem you face, you can learn a new skill or new fact.
Look at how you lead in a situation when things don’t go according to plan. Monitor your speech and how you say things. Avoid using pronouns and words that suggest blame and learn how to say: “Yes, it was my mistake, and I’m working on the solution.” Remember mistakes happen all the time. We’re human after all. Just don’t let the same mistake happen twice; learn from it.