Be a Leader, Mea Culpa

A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.

— Arnold H. Glasow

When you think back over the course of your career, what attributes do you most admire about the leaders you’ve worked for?

I have found that those that make the best leaders, the ones that have the loyalty and respect of their people, are those who will fall on their sword and take the blame.

“Mea culpa” is a Latin phrase that means through my fault. Great leaders understand that they are ultimately responsible for their team’s performance and will shield their employees from a barrage of blame.  When leaders take that responsibility, the buck stops here approach, they build confidence and security in their team members, which in turn makes their teams want to work harder and more diligently to reciprocate that kindness.

Taking the blame takes the pressure off, builds respect and positive team dynamics.  Team members are more willing to take great risks that could lead to great rewards. It’s an attribute of servant leadership that many managers fail to adopt, because they’re too consumed with protecting their position and reputation.  We all make mistakes, but it¹s how we take accountability for those mistakes, and those of our teams, which separates mere people managers from great leaders.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

— John Quincy Adams

That’s our spark, what’s yours?