There is something about Washington, DC that is driving me crazy these days… Well, several things actually, but only one that I will discuss today.
I’m waiting for someone to raise their hand and take responsibility for something that didn’t go well. I’m waiting for a politician, an elected leader, to say “This went poorly, and it is my fault.” No one does that anymore. No one says, “This was my project, my initiative, my decision, and the blame rests with me.” No one. And if we ran our businesses the same way, we would all be out of business. When something goes wrong with a Latimer Group client project — if the client is not happy — we raise our hand and say, “Our fault, we’ll fix it.” That is what all good businesses do. And good business leaders don’t push responsibility down onto someone else, at least publicly. What happens behind the scenes is different. But good business leaders raise their hand and take responsibility.
Washington should take note.
I’m picking on President Obama, because, well, he is the President, and we just elected him to the highest office in the land… again. We asked him to lead. I just wish he would. Nothing is ever his fault. The IRS, the AP phone fiasco, the economy, the budget, the fiscal cliff… nothing is his fault. He simply points fingers at others. The IRS targeting of right-wing groups may not have been sanctioned by the White House. They may not have known about it at all. But the IRS works for the President, and he should raise his hand and say “if you want to blame someone, blame me.” That’s called leadership.
Don’t make the naive mistake of assuming the White House knew nothing about it, just because they say they knew nothing about it. We’ve heard this before. President Reagan pounded the table and said there were “no arms traded for hostages.” President Clinton pounded the table and said “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” President Nixon pounded the table and denied pretty much everything. Just because a President denies it means nothing. Regardless of whether President Obama or his inner circle knew about the IRS or the AP is almost irrelevant. These two things happened on his watch, and he’s taken responsibility for nothing. That’s bad leadership.
But I’m not writing about politics. I’m writing about leadership. It starts with Obama, and extends to everyone else in Washington, on both sides of the aisle. Don’t run your business this way. You’ll be out of business quickly.
Have a great day.
At The Latimer Group, we believe that successful teams are built on honesty, open communication, and collaboration. For more on team building and team communication, look for Dean Brenner’s latest book, Sharing the Sandbox: Building and Leading Great Teams in the 21st Century, on sale now.