The best way to avoid taking responsibility and ownership for the outcomes of poor leadership or bad decision making is to place the blame on someone else other than yourself. If you want to be sure no one challenges you on it then spiritualize the blame to remove all doubt. The easiest target is Satan. […]
The best way to avoid taking responsibility and ownership for the outcomes of poor leadership or bad decision making is to place the blame on someone else other than yourself. If you want to be sure no one challenges you on it then spiritualize the blame to remove all doubt.
The easiest target is Satan. I mean he’s always up to no good and wants to destroy good things. He’s the usual suspect and its a win win to point the finger at him. If you’ve acted brashly as a leader or if you’re ill-advised actions have single handedly ruined a department or crushed the spirits of those you lead then act quickly.
First, be as ambiguous as possible about the specifics, motives, circumstances, and conversations as you possibly can. When people want to know why or understand the logic in the moment or your process refuse them the satisfaction.
Second, lay out you’re best “savior persona.” Talk about how you can’t divulge everything because you’re protecting people as a thoughtful leader. Talk about ways you tried to do things differently even if you didn’t. Talk about the future and how it will all work out because it’s all anyone has left anyway.
Lastly, deploy argue-proof spiritual blame. As things blowup, lose momentum, get hostile, or start to unravel, gather the people together and rally around the idea that Satan is out to get all of us and we can’t go back in the past. We got to stay together, weather the storm, and not give into his traps over fault.
When you throw Satan under the bus you’re pretty much safeguarded from saying, “I made the wrong decision, I screwed up.” Or worse yet, “I’m sorry.” The beauty of it is that if anyone still wants to create accountability or get clarity they are now on his side!
It’s fool proof. You won’t have to grow, learn, or go back and say my bad. You can keep your job and worry about the residue of pain later.