Owning up to mistakes

I believe that when a team makes a mistake, the leader always has responsibility for it. However, I may not always readily admit my mistakes in front of my team because I want them to take ownership. In front of my boss, I will say that the fault is mine. But this is a side that my team might not see. And because people can only judge on what they see and hear, it appears that I am someone who pushes the blame to the team. In fact, someone left a comment asking me to “take a little more of the blame and lesser of the credit” in my recent peer appraisal. I agree with that, and I also think that everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, I can’t help but question if the commenter can see the complete picture.

We often forget that a team affects a leader as much as a leader affects the team. In the past, I felt that there was very little accountability by leaders. Leaders did not have to pay so much attention to the people, and they just had to get things done. However, culture seems to be shifting, and I think it is good until it goes too much to the other side. We need to understand that organisations exist for a reason. We are not accountable only to the people in our organisation but also to the people we serve. And if you are in the public sector, you are, most importantly, accountable to the people.

Categorized as Journal

By ben@sgben.com

Hi, I am Benjamin. I am a Singaporean son, born and bred. I came from a modest background, just like most Singaporeans and went to mainstream schools like most middle-class Singaporeans. What makes me different is my unconventional choices and journey in life, giving me more profound insights. Entering a secondary school infested with secret societies in the earlier days exposed me to a different side of Singapore. I graduated well despite having a volatile phase. I chose one of the youngest polytechnics despite having a score good enough for JC, even as others tell me it is not recognised, and I would not make it into university through that path. During my National Service, I also went through a difficult phase of rediscovering the purpose of serving. My university was another defining chapter, spanning over nine years, involving many adventures and endeavours. As you can see, I seldom bother myself with dogmas. I strongly believe in Steve Job's speech at Stanford University. I hope to lead others by example, inspire them to do the same and empower the decisions they have to make in their lives. Reach me at sgBen.com.

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