A Lesson In Ownership

I’ve watched a lot of Cop shows. Castle, Law & Order, Bones. You name it. I have a fascination with whodunits and mysteries. I love trying to figure out the criminal masterminds and dunces. A recurring theme that always comes up in these types of shows is the criminals who try to pin the crime on someone else.

“It wasn’t my fault. They made me do it.”

We do that a lot in our leadership roles too. Moi included. It’s pretty easy. We blame the economy, our clients, the weather, other co-workers. Blame, blame, blame. We often do not take ownership for mistakes, poor work culture, or whatever kink can often come up when managing teams with humans involved.

Question is, why? Now are there some times where we do have valid and legitimate reasons for different situations? Sure. We can’t control others and we can’t control certain facets of the economy, client behavior, co-workers etc. But, I have found that when things happen as a direct result of our actions, we shy away from taking on ownership of the situation.

We are afraid to have a perception of weakness or failure. And trust me when I say, I get it. No one that rises to leadership ever wants to make a mistake, fail, or have to go to their boss and admit a huge error. It hurts. It can feel bad and if your don’t have a compassionate or progressive company, can even cost you your job.

But our work ethics and our ability to grow as leaders demands it. It is really important that we take on ownership of our mistakes and our hang ups just as much as we take on accolades and compliments. If we only take the praise and fail to take the lesson, all we get are “wins” and no one ever grows from those alone.

Is getting lessons ever going to feel good? Probably not. I haven’t found a time that making a mistake has ever felt good to me. But I have found that it has been essential in molding me and helping me to grow as a leader.

Take a lesson in ownership. You don’t get the pleasure of having a dog without cleaning up it’s mess too.


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