Top 20 Bad Habits Leaders Need to Eliminate, #19.
We humans often let negative communication patterns (flaws) become habits, unnoticeable to ourselves. Then they create challenges and roadblocks in our interactions with others. There are about twenty of these ‘bad habits’ which we find among executives and you can find listed in Marshall Goldsmith’s book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. Pg. 40
One is ducking responsibility. Also called (my #19), Passing the buck.
This is the need to blame someone, everyone, anyone but ourselves. Passing the buck is simply ‘Not taking responsibility’ and can be found in excuses such as:
The supplier was late
We are waiting on the other department
My people let me down
and even the infamous
My dog ate my homework
Companies don’t fail for lack of talent or strategic vision. They fail for lack of execution—the mundane blocking and tackling. Getting the job done, simple as that. And there are times we miss our targets. When you as a leader fail don’t pass the buck. Emulate Harry “The Buck Stops Here” Truman, take responsibility.
The supplier was late… because I did not have the right follow-up procedures in place.
We are waiting on the other department… and I will fix our communication protocols so this can’t happen again.
My peop.... I messed up.
Everything the leader does sends a message and that message gets transmitted throughout the organization and will quickly become part of the culture. If yours is a message of excuses then soon everyone will be doing it. Is that the corporate culture you really want? A better message might be, ‘When you fail, take responsibility, then we can forget about assigning blame and move quickly to finding a solution.’
Admitting to our failures can be humbling. And it can be scary. Many leaders think they need to appear to be infallible. They are wrong. Building a high-powered organization requires humility and courage. Stop passing the buck!