After reading one of my articles entitled “Leaders Take Responsibility for Their Choices” along with a comment from another reader, Heather Bruce posted these reflections:

“I agree with Don’s email and the article in our very human tendency to find something or someone to blame!

I have found over time that asking myself: ‘what outcome am I looking for?’ will stop me from blaming. If I want the problem fixed I have to be realistic and know that blaming has never fixed anything! All I accomplished when I blame is to teach others that I am not a solution finder but a blamer. I really don’t see myself that way and don’t want to teach others that blaming is part of my character.

If we start with: ‘what outcome am I looking for?’ we – as leaders – can stop a lot of the often soul destroying, diminishing, and useless blame that goes on in organizations.”
Right on! When I work with supervisors or middle managers I encounter a few who point fingers upward and blame their lack of leadership on someone else further up the organization. In one session last month, we had a lively discussion with one particularly strong participant challenging his peers to “be less transparent.” He made the observation that when a supervisor or boss explains a change by saying that it’s what senior management wants, he or she causes people on their team to look through or past them to others for direction and leadership. This weak leader gives away his or her credibility and authority. Strong leaders seek the understanding they need from their boss (or higher) and then explain what’s going on to the people in their organization.

When I work with executives, I also encounter a reverse phenomenon; a few of the weaker leaders point their fingers downward and blame people in their organization.

You can read the original article and comments at Please add your thoughts to the fundamental leadership principle.