There have been many impactful leadership blogs and articles written over the past four (4) months. They’ve been written by leaders who’ve unselfishly given of their time and expertise to help others navigate their own choppy waters, as we all have been dealing with the unprecedented challenges brought on by the Covid-19 crisis.
To each of you article and blog writers, thank you. Thank you because you are making an impact. Your guidance matters; maybe not to everyone, but to some. And those you positively impact, know you’re making a difference – one person and organization at a time.
When this crisis began, I read as many of these articles as I could find and listened to webinars from well-respected leaders, as the days and weeks progressed, and the crisis endured. I did my best to pass on my own expertise to as many who wanted to hear or read it. I wanted, as did so many of you, to be a resource to others; especially, since many of us have (fortunately or unfortunately) had experience dealing with previous crises.
But why do this?
To get credit?
In a word…NO.
President Harry S. Truman once said: “It is amazing what you can do when you don’t care who gets the credit.”
One of the most respected leaders from the sports world was John Wooden. He was head coach of the UCLA Bruins in NCAA basketball, and his teams won 10 championships in 12 seasons. More than the winning, his legacy grew as leaders everywhere were inspired to learn from his proven leadership principles. So, what would he say to the leaders of today, as it pertains to the challenges they face? Here is what I think he would say, using a quote attributed to him (Mr. Wooden died in 2010).
“A strong leader accepts the blame and gives the credit.”
More than ever, we need leaders to step up and become more effective leaders during the Covid-19 crisis. Tough decisions need to be made and productive solutions found. Some painful mistakes will be made as these decisions are rolled out, but that is also part of being a leader, making and learning from mistakes. More than ever, we need leaders who do not care about the credit, but who passionately care about the progress. More than ever, we need leaders who are willing to accept the blame when things go wrong, rather than placing blame on others…that is not leadership…it’s finger-pointing. It’s schoolyard tactics.
We have many challenges awaiting us today, this week, this month and in the coming months. We look to the future, not with complete certainty, but with optimism and hope, along with a strategy that provides clarity to those who follow us.
I am confident we will make great decisions that impact organizations and people positively. And when that happens, do what great leaders do, give credit where credit is due.
I also know we will make mistakes, and when we do…take the blame. Accept that is part of the job description of being a leader.
Every day, I would challenge us all to be the leaders we are capable of, and the type of leaders our people respect. We need that today, more than ever, leaders who will inspire others to also rise and get us through these challenging times.