As a leader, one of my pet peeves is watching other leaders not take responsibility. In fact, I think it’s ridiculous for a person to be in leadership, if their only goal is to make themselves look good; and yet I see it all the time.I watch leaders who are very proud of the title, but aren’t willing to do what is necessary to live up to it. They try to take on as many responsibilities as they can, and when they fail, the first thing they do is blame one or more of their team members for the failure.
Worse than that, they throw those team members under the bus to their leadership in an attempt to get out of the line of fire.When you lead like this, you paralyze your team because they don’t know what you’re going to do to them next. They operate out of fear instead of respect and loyalty. And the funny thing is, that this type of leader thinks that nobody notices that they are throwing people under the bus.
That’s not leadership! Nor is it for the leader above them who doesn’t take the time to find out what’s really going on, because they can’t handle drama. Guess what, in leadership, there’s going to be drama! It comes with the job. In fact, there should be a manual that you’re handed when you become a leader that’s titled, “Scotch and Psychiatrists: A leader’s guide to drama!” (I’m kidding…you don’t need a psychiatrist! Okay, you don’t need the Scotch either. :-))
Leadership is the privilege and the authority to serve. Key word there being serve! It’s not my job as a leader to pass on blame. It’s my job to do everything in my power to make sure that my team is set up for success. And sometimes that means taking a bullet or twelve for them. In the end, if they don’t succeed, it’s my fault anyway. Somewhere along the line I either didn’t train them well enough, or I didn’t make sure they had everything they needed to be successful.
Get in there and be the type of leader who stands side by side with their team. Show them that you are willing to take the bullets with them. “But Chris, I have some real idiots on my team. I don’t want to take their bullets!” Then roll up your sleeves and do everything you possibly can to make sure that it’s not really you who are the problem. If you can say that you’ve done everything you can, and their still an idiot, then it’s time to let them be an idiot somewhere else. But, until you can rule you out, you’re the problem!
Comment on whether or not you’ve experienced this kind of leader.
4 thoughts on “Stand Right In Front Of This Bus”
Amen!! One of the hardest things for people is the ability to see their own flaws though…seems even worse for those in “power”.
Thankfully I have worked with two amazing leaders over the past few years. They have never thrown me under the bus (that I know of!), which is great humility on their parts. As a result, my respect and confidence toward them has grown. Their leadership styles are contagious and inspire me to serve everyone better in the workplace.
Sad to say Chris, I have worked for this type of employer! I am thankful to say that it was a blessing when I lost the job in August 2010. All of us managers never knew when we were going to be thrown under the bus next and we tried hard to stick up for each other, but it usually made the rollover worse. After 2.5yrs of working there, I don’t think he will ever change, he has no desire to, doesn’t wanna roll up his sleeves and get to work. You nailed it: Service is not his focus, his image is. But if he stopped and thought it thru, his managers don’t have an image of him that he would want if he truely gav it thought.
As a leader who has a small team, I know that you will have no regrets if you get in there and give them your ALL. You will be exhausted. You will be exasperated. But you have to be persistent and stay with a focus. If it still doesn’t work out, you will have a peace about kicking them off the bus. I know, I have been there!
Chris, Unfortunately I have experienced this kind of leader… it isn’t fun AT ALL!!