When things go wrong, you’re responsible.
I know that sounds harsh but trust me, when you look at life this way you can take control. Rather than focusing on external factors that contribute to your problems, you can zero in on what you can actually change: you.
When you miss a goal, own it. Figure out what you need to do next time to get a better result and move forward.
Blaming will cause you to feel helpless and frustrated. People will see you as a victim or complainer.
If you notice that your mind is sometimes consumed by thoughts of what other people have done wrong or how they need to change, let this be a major warning bell to you.
This expenditure of mental energy will lead you nowhere.
Your CEO doesn’t want to hear a list of complaints or how other people let you down. Remove these behaviors from your repertoire entirely.
You are a victor, not a victim. You are a problem-solver. You are honest enough to see your own failings.
Let me share a story from way-back-when. I used to be an executive at a prominent PR agency. I worked with an extremely charming, fiercely talented peer (let’s call him Bill) who adamantly refused to accept responsibility for any shortfall.
Bill’s errors were always someone else’s fault. When he didn’t meet his goals, there were a million reasons he wasn’t responsible. He blamed his team for letting him down. He blamed his peers for not adequately supporting him. He blamed outside contributors who didn’t deliver as planned.
I will tell you candidly he drove me mad. And I wasn’t alone. My executive colleagues would take me aside frequently to vent their frustrations. Our CEO wore a pained expression whenever he had to interact with Bill.
Eventually, everyone’s patience wore thin. Despite his many talents, he was gradually pulled from our most important accounts. He was no longer invited to collaborate on special initiatives. In essence, he was shut out. Yes, he retained his title, but he no longer functioned as a true executive.
The lesson in Bill’s story is that people will respect you more when you muster the courage to simply say, ‘My bad. I messed up. I’ll fix it.’
Not doing so is weak-kneed. It will prevent you from operating at your highest potential.
Never be afraid to own your failures. These tough moments come with the territory of executive leadership. They can make you stronger and smarter if you handle them with grace and self-awareness.