For most leaders, there is an extremely strong correlation between personal success and personal accountability. When we cast ourselves as the victim of our circumstances or disregard the viewpoints of the people around us, for example, we will often find that the short-term gains of such behavior are deeply offset by the long-term consequences that we will encounter.
Here are just a few key beliefs that no true leader should hold or articulate, and why a positive attitude and a reliable spirit can see us through even the most difficult tests of our leadership skills.
- It’s Not My Fault
Without question, there are few moral positions in life (and in business) that are as destructive as a victim-stance. When we blame people and circumstances for our bad decisions, in other words, we will almost certainly make our lives and our workplaces far more chaotic and far less manageable.
The best leaders are adept at spotting the links between cause and effect; true leaders understand that playing the victim when problems arise is a bit like throwing a boomerang into the air and whining about the injustice of the world when the same boomerang hits us in the face.
- This Isn’t a Big Deal
Sooner or later, the results of a bad decision are going to manifest themselves in the workplace. As leaders, however, we can either choose to own up to bad situations or wait until our excuses are shown to be lies at a later date. If something is going wrong with a business, it is our job to be honest with our employees about the reasons for setbacks. Once we’ve lost the trust of our employees, moreover, it can be extremely difficult and even impossible to win it back. As is so often true of life, honesty is always the best policy when it comes to owning our own mistakes.
- You’re to Blame (For My Miscalculations)
At some point in our careers, most of us will deal with team leaders who throw their underlings under the bus when things go wrong. No one with any self-respect admires these kinds of leaders, and companies won’t hold onto talented employees for very long if this kind of pettiness becomes commonplace among managers. As leaders, we should not stoop to this kind of behavior.
- I Don’t Want Your Opinion
There is a reason why top companies seek out leaders who can both delegate tasks and rely on the expertise and experience of others. The concept of going it alone may seem commendable in a John Wayne movie, but true business leaders understand the folly of disregarding the opinions of those closest to us. However highly we think of ourselves, in fact, no one is perfectly capable of spotting all of the flaws in their own thought processes all of the time.
- The Rules Don’t Apply to Me
Undoubtedly, a sense of entitlement has to be one of the worst qualities that a business leader can possess. When we think we’re above it all, it probably won’t be long before we feel that we deserve to cut corners. In a business environment, that kind of distorted thinking can put our behavior at serious odds with our deepest values. It can also cost us our reputations as professionals. Keeping a level head is a must in the business world, and this is doubly true for leaders who want to genuinely make a difference.