W.I.N. Wednesday: The give and take of credit and blame.
Before the Super Bowl Sunday I listened to an episode of The James Altucher Show podcast while getting in my workout on the exercise bike. In this episode James interviewed Seth Godin about his new book What to do when it is your turn: And it is always your turn. I recently read the book and always enjoy listening to interviews with Seth Godin as there are guaranteed to be gems of wisdom and insights that can be applied to any aspect of life.
One of the gems of wisdom in this interview was a statement Godin made when talking about how to overcome resistance to new ideas in the work place. He said, “Take the blame, and give away the credit.” He went on to explain that you need to be willing to stand up and take the blame when things go wrong, and give away the credit when things go well.
This is a trait Jim Collins talks about in his book Good to Great that is characteristic of Level 5 Leaders. When things are going well these leaders stand up and say, “How can we not be successful? Look at all the great people we have in our organization.” When things go wrong, these leaders look in the mirror and say, “This is on me. I am the boss here, and the buck stops here.”
Just a few hours after listening to the podcast I saw this play out in the aftermath of the Super Bowl. In the dying seconds of the game the Seattle Seahawks moved the ball down the field and then attempted a touchdown pass to win the game. Many questioned the call as the Seahawks were only 5 yards out of the end zone and have one of the best running backs in the NFL. That pass was intercepted and the New England Patriots won the game.
The play call by Seattle was immediately the hot topic with many people calling it the worst play calls in the history of the Super Bowl. Pete Carroll, the head coach of Seattle, stood up after the game and said, “This is completely on me.” He took ownership for the call and did not blame the quarterback or the offensive coordinator. The following day he continued to take full responsibility for the call. He also made an interesting point when he reminded all the critics of two things:
1. As a team they never run a play without a belief it will be successful. They ran that play because they believed they would score a touchdown and win the game.
2. He also reminded everyone that many people criticized his decision to run a passing play and score a touchdown at the end of the first half instead of kicking a field goal and taking the guaranteed 3 points. They did complete that pass and scored 7 points to end the half instead of 3. Because it worked, it was considered a courageous call. When he spoke about that success he referred to ‘we’ and gave the credit to the team.
What’s Important Now? - Take the blame and give away the credit. It will enhance your credibility and help you on your way to become a trusted and respected leader.
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