Take Blame, Give Credit

Too often, when something goes well, everyone wants the credit. Then, when things go wrong, no one will take responsibility for the blame.

The good leader does the exact opposite. When things are going well, they give everyone else the credit. The good leader knows that giving others the credit will make them feel better and ultimately, that will usually result in even more good work.

When things are going poorly, rather than blaming the others, they take the responsibility (because ultimately, as was discussed in the previous post, the leader is responsible). By doing this, the people they are leading know their leader has their back.

The funny thing is that the people who take credit and give blame are usually found out sooner than later. The people who take blame and give credit are the ones who succeed in the long run

Take blame, give credit and good things will happen.

Have a great day!


Authority and Responsibility

Many people in positions of power seem to misunderstand the differences between authority and responsibility. Too many want the authority but are afraid to assume the responsibility.

An example of this is the manager who has the task of making sure a project is done. This manager would be given both the authority and responsibility to accomplish this task.

The manager might then delegate to an employee the tasks needed to do the project. In doing so, they can delegate the authority and can give the employee some responsibility but in the long run, the manager is ultimately responsible if the project isn’t done properly and on time.

While the authority to do something can be delegated, ultimately, the person given the assignment originally is the one who will be held accountable for the project.

If I hire a General Contractor to build a house and the electrician he contracts with to wire the house does a poor job, it will come back on the General Contractor to get the problems fixed. He delegated the authority but is still responsible for the completion of the project.

If I ask an employee to finish a web site and he enlists the help of other people to help, if the site isn’t done properly and on time, I don’t want to hear about how the other people didn’t do what he wanted. Ultimately, this employee has to take responsibility for the project and make sure it’s done and done on time.

When a person is given the authority and responsibility to do something and chooses to delegate to others (which frequently makes a great deal of sense), it’s important for this person to know they are still, ultimately responsible. This means that they should be regularly monitoring the others to make sure things are progressing smoothly and making themselves available to help when needed.

If you do have ultimate responsibility for a project, and things don’t seem to be going as smoothly as you hope, it’s MUCH better to enlist the help of others. This might mean delegating down to a coworker and employee or, it might mean delegating up (asking for help from people with more knowledge or experience).

It’s important to understand that ultimately, authority can be delegated but responsibility, once given, stays with you till the end.

Have a great day!


How you say it is as important as what you say

Recently I went to hear the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra play It was a concert for middle school students and they were demonstrating how the use of pacing, tone and sound can convey a message, even when there are no words.

As the conductor explained what they were trying to demonstrate, you could see a number of the students rolling their eyes and snickering.

Then the orchestra started to play. As their pace quickened (sorry if this isn’t correct terminology but hopefully you understand what I mean) the students became more excited and moved forward in their seats. When the pace slowed, they sat back a bit and waited anxiously. The percussions started up and the excitement returned. Then there was a soft solo by a violinist and the room became completely quiet so everyone could hear.

The concert only lasted 45 minutes and at the end, the students gave a very excited and very genuine ovation.

This made me think about people speaking. When people give presentations, they frequently spend a great deal of time on the content and not nearly enough time on the way they present the content.

Do you think about your intonation, pacing, volume etc? Do you realize how much you can affect the final message with things other than the actual words?

If you are excited about something, make sure the excitement is “heard” in your voice as well as your words. If you want to get someones attention, alter your volume. Sometimes, this means speaking louder and other times it means speaking softer..

There is much you can do to convey your message outside of just the choice of words. Give this some thought and you can become a better communicator

Have a great day!


Shut up and listen

A little over 20 years ago, I lost my voice for almost 5 months. At first, it was quite a traumatic experience, however, in a relatively short time, it became a great learning opportunity.

Since I didn’t know how to sign, and my handwriting was (and is) deplorable I didn’t worry about responding to people and instead, I simply listened.

I had read about how many people don’t listen and instead are thinking about what they want to say next, however, I hadn’t realized how much I was doing this until I could no longer respond.

All of a sudden, I was listening and truly hearing what others were saying. I learned so much more and started to regret everything I had missed previously because I hadn’t really listened.

Unfortunately, I sometimes forget this valuable lesson and have to be reminded but when I find myself not paying attention or not really understanding, I simply remind myself to shut up and listen.

It’s a great lesson for all, give it a try sometime and see how much you learn

Have a great day!


Are you reactively proactive?

Ideally, we should be proactive whenever possible. Realistically, there are times when we all have to react to other situations. There simply is no way to anticipate everything you will come across.

The key to being reactive in a proactive way is to react to the situation and then to be proactive and take charge of the situation.

As an example, the tennis player might be able to return a hard serve but if all he is able to do is return with a soft lob, it puts the opponent in a position to win with the next shot. In volleyball, returning a spike with a soft return to the opponents setter will result, most of the time, with another spike, this time resulting in a kill.

In both of the situations described above, while the defending player(s) are reacting to the serve or spike, they are anticipating what the opponent will do so that while they are reacting to the opponent, they are also taking the initiative (by positioning their bodies in a certain way to force the opponent to become somewhat reactive themselves). By doing this, they are still having to react to the opponent but also are taking the initiative to try to be more proactive.

In businesses, there are times when everyone has to react (to competitors, to the economy etc) but those who react in a proactive way so they can take the initiative are the ones who will be successful in the long run

Have a great day!


Half Full PPT

A week or so ago, I wrote a post about Looking for Ways to Fail (http://www.lawrencefine.com/blog/2009/02/looking-for-ways-to-fail/)

After writing that, I decided to discuss this in a presentation I was making and from there, decided to elaborate on it in a power point presentation.

Hope you enjoy