I am in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for a couple of days.
Five American business men sat behind me in the boarding lounge at the airport.
They work for a Washington, D.C. based company, but seem to work in different offices.
The boss of the group was angry with one of the men about “HR issues.”
In an eloquent, calm voice, the sharp dressed man said something like “Billy, we’re having the same problems with your team as last month…whatcha doing about it?
It took “Billy” a few seconds to respond …most probably, because he was thinking of his excuse…
he explained, “the problem” is because of a certain “John” who is on his team.
He spent a few minutes talking negatively, about John to ensure everyone understood — It wasn’t Billy’s fault, it was John’s.
It was clear that the boss was irritated with this response.
He asked Billy – “who is in charge, you or John?”
Billy responded, “I am, but….”
The boss stopped him by saying, “I’ve heard enough of your bull….”
Can you relate to this story?
Although I have witnessed this type of management, (managers not accepting responsibilty) several times over the years, one manager stands out the most — an Australian woman who I worked with in Tokyo.
Whatever success her team had, she would take credit for it.
Whatever mistakes or problems her team had, she would blame someone else for it.
It was never her fault.
Consequently, her team did not trust her – ultimately, she was terminated.
If you are a manager, or aspiring to become a manager no matter what country, ethnicity or industry — remember this:
A manager who does not take responsibility for his team, and just pushes the blame onto someone else, does not reflect the character of a great leader.