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Are you being told something is your fault? Do you feel blamed or shamed for current or past circumstances? Your instinct is likely to make excuses or justify outcomes.  Blaming anything, including a bad economy or bad employees, is a dangerous place for aspiring leaders. It is a trap. Instead of taking the bait, tell those blaming you, “that is the point.” Embrace everything is your fault.  You own it all!

I am the leader, and I am responsible for everything that happens – the good and the bad – and yes, this is my fault. -Jocko Willink

Once you acknowledge this reality, you can move forward. You can start proactive problem-solving and search for solutions. According to Ryan Holiday, ego is the enemy. It is challenging to combat our ego. Some say it is painful. It feels terrible when others point that finger of blame at us.  

Richard Nicastro says it has a name: it is a “game” in the sense that we can get so caught up in blaming others for something that has happened or what we do not like in our lives that we distract ourselves from where our responsibility lies. When you are the leader, accept it and own it. Stop rationalizing excuses and stop accepting excuses. Move forward. You own it.

Blame from your boss can be horrible. You instinctively want to deflect the blame or deny ownership. Resist the temptation of the fragile ego. Give yourself a higher reputation and take more ownership. When you take ownership of other’s mistakes, you look more prominent in the mind of others, including the boss. You are exercising a power move. I will take care of it sounds intense. It is her fault, says weakness.

In his book The Forgiving Self, psychoanalyst Robert Karen describes blame as “absorbent.” “It soaks up sadness,” he writes. “It dries the tears. It provides an opportunity and a target for fury which is felt as preferable to experiencing pain or loss.”

When you side-step blame by ignoring it, you gain...

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