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The Fastest Way to Lose Trust and Respect

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“A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.” – John Maxwell

I’ve made enough mistakes on my own that I don’t need to take credit for someone else’s too. That’s why I’ll never forget the time one of my superiors blamed me for his mistake.

I was preparing a PowerPoint slideshow before a meeting with a group of clients when he decided to make some changes just minutes before the presentation. I expressed my concern that we didn’t have time to review the new version.

“It will be fine,” he said. “If anything goes wrong, I’ll explain what happened.”

You guessed it, something went wrong. The new slides had auto-animation timings, and we completely lost control of the presentation. No matter how long we wanted to stay on a slide, it transitioned to the next one every three seconds.

We eventually turned off the projector and continued the presentation verbally, but the damage was done.

After the meeting, my superior’s boss looked at both of us and said, “That was very embarrassing for our company. Make sure that never happens again.” My boss replied, “Don’t worry about it, sir. I’ll talk with Ryan and figure out what he did wrong. It won’t happen again.”

On more than one occasion, I have been accused of talking too much… But in that moment, I was speechless.

Not only had he failed to take responsibility, but he said the fiasco was my fault. I’ll never forget the shock I felt.

As leaders, it is vital for us to publicly recognize the positive contributions of our team members and to defend them when they are wrongly accused of making a mistake.

I speak from experience when I tell you there’s no faster way to lose trust and respect than failing to do this.

Always remember, Leadership is a Lifestyle.

– Ryan W. Hirsch
Program Manager, NASBA Center for the Public Trust