One of the striking qualities that shows a leader in a person is the attitude of admitting mistakes – personal (naturally), and ALSO, of his/her team. This nature is striking enough, for 2 main reasons in my opinion – 1) It is very tough to have the (noblest) courage to admit a mistake 2) Consequentially, it is rare to find such people.

In contextual terms – from what I have seen at workplace –  I think the above mentioned quality helps discriminate a leader from a manager. Now, there are many such attributes that go hand in hand – People say ‘one needs to take ownership’, ‘one has to have a sense of responsibility’ etc., However, the essence of what is conveyed is the same – being ready to admit one’s mistake.

Last month my friend had to attend a leadership gathering conducted by his organization. He felt a bit bad for his director that the gentlteman had to spend on a day long meeting to explain terms like ‘accountability’ & ‘responsibility’ to all current managers and project leads. This is already a proof  to a rarity of ‘real’ (non-pseudo) leaders, no matter whether it is IT industry or anywhere.

I used to have one junior resource who always talked in plurality – ‘We will finish the job, Hari’, ‘We will definitely do it by today, Hari’ – I instantly shut him up on every such occsasion and said, ‘Boss, it is YOUR bloody job, and YOU are responsible’ :)

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4 thoughts on “The noblest courage

  1. Nice post, one has to def take up responsibility and should have the courage to admit his mistakes.

    But I dont see anyone working as individuals (atleast in our industry) and so I personally see no mistake in some one telling you that “we will finish the job, Hari”, and I believe that such a person is a perfect team player and takes up even more responsibility, because when something fails its not the individual alone(of course it affects him more), but it’s the failure of the team.

    Also when one says “we will do it”, I see that person takes up more responsibility

  2. Dear Sriram,

    It would be more agreeable and understandable when this ‘we-will-do-it’ phrase comes from a team lead. But when the same team lead assigns a task or responsibility to a junior, the junior has to rather use ‘Yes-I-will-do-it’ kind of phrase. It depends on what role you play in the context – Are you the one who gives the job or are you the one who is given?

    Except for faculties like art, dance, writing, music etc.,any work’s success is an end-result of a team’s hardwork. That said, even the above mentioned faculties could involve creations involving contribution from a group of people. However, success is like the dearest child and failure is an orphan. Everyone wants to own success, but no one wants to own failure – it is another natural law of selection. The fear of failure or some misdirection in attitude, perhaps, makes people disown responsibilities. That hidden fear or recalcitrant attitude shouldn’t be allowed to set in. The first step to prevent that is to use the correct words to start with – That is why I corrected those words of my junior – Because, the concept I have talked about is a soft skill that can so easily elude, but at the same time, which is so vital in making someone a leader . I am sure that junior will understand when he grows to be a leader.

    I am surprised, someone reads my blog. :D

  3. Kavitha gave me your blog ID and here I am :)

    Another hit from you…

    Your language is a real balm to the eyes and the mind. When a team member shies away from saying “I”, it shows lack of confidence in himself. ” I will finish it” should be the mantra and that would take him to places. Enjoyed it immensely…

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