Life in Organizations LO9678 ("")
Mon, 2 Sep 1996 10:29:08 +0000

Replying to LO9612 --

Rol wrote of blame and responsibility -

> >Some of the disagreement going on in this thread is over the acceptance of
> >responsibility versus 'acceptance of blame'. My focus is clear. Blaming is not
> >a useful activity, whether it be to blame management, the system, or the
> >participants in the organization. All three blamings are equally irrelevant,
> >equally useless. Accepting blame and accepting responsibility are different at
> >their core. The former is useless, the latter is grand, uplifting, and
> >empowering. The latter is a hell of a lot of fun, and it is the _only_
> >beginning that can result in a good change.

There is one exception I know of to Rol's rule. We heard of it previously
in the story of the CEO who took over and assumed responsibility for all
the errors previously made and was able to get into the shoes of the

Bad situations are often punctuated by people who want to assess blame. A
wise boss will openly accept the blame on his/her own shoulders in the
interest of getting it off everyone else's. This act of "I'll take all the
blame because it was the person in my job who could have assured it didn't
happen" defuses the controversy of blame and allows people to start
developing solutions and accepting responsibility. This act is the only
one which will allow people's bruises and pains to heal. I have seen this
used very effectively to resolve old wounds which go back 10 years and
more - "I accept the blame and if what you say is right, you were treated
terribly. Now what can we do today to prevent that from happening to you
or anyone else?"

Bosses who accept the blame can heal old wounds and allow everyone to stop
blaming start accepting responsibility. This is leadership at its best.

Regards, Joan
Joan Pomo The Finest Tools for Managing People
Simonton Associates Based on the book "How to Unleash the Power of People"


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