Taking responsibility takes courage. As leaders, holding ourselves and others accountable can be difficult.
It seems we have developed a series of strategies to deflect responsibility. Here are 7 popular strategies I have observed in business meetings. I have seen each of these used in meetings when it’s painful to talk about the reality of issues or results.
- Ignore the issue and hope it goes away.
- Quickly fall on the sword and hope for the sympathy vote.
- Ingratiate yourself with the most senior person.
- Find someone worse off than you and move the focus onto their issue.
- Run out of time and move on to the next issue on the agenda (or change the subject).
- Justify any behaviour/results with pseudo-valid reasons.
- Blame someone/something else.
Watch out for these attempts to deflect responsibility. Long term, it’s better to accept responsibility, learn what needs to be learnt, and move on. Even if it hurts in the short term.