Receiving Credit and Accepting Blame

Who accepts the blame and receives the credit in your organization? Legendary University of Alabama football coach “Bear” Bryant had a simple yet powerful philosophy on what it takes to get people to win games for you. He believed, “if anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it.”

As Peter Bregman points out in a HBR blog post, “blame prevents learning” – if it’s not your fault, why should you do anything different in the future? Bregman states that when you take the blame, you then have the power to defuse and change the situation. However, in order to do this, you must have enough self-esteem and confidence to believe that one mistake will not be your demise, but rather provide an opportunity for growth.

In our pursuit of creating Great Law, Stage 2 focuses on creating leadership built upon service to others. In order to create this leadership, it is essential that

  • When things go right, give away that credit and point out the window to know where to go next
  • When things go wrong, accept the blame and look in the rearview mirror for lessons learned and figure out how you can do better going forward

Great leaders understand that accepting the blame solidifies relationships, improves credibility and ultimately ensures the mistake won’t happen again. Will you serve as an example by taking the blame the next time a mistake happens?