You can tell a lot about a leader by what’s on his shoulders.
Leaders in the Founder Stage have a chip on theirs. And it serves them well–for awhile.
Leaders in the Farmer Stage have the weight of the world on their shoulders. They’re trying to level up and do all the things, but they’re not seeing the fruits of their labors yet.
Leaders in the Tinker Stage are willing to shoulder the blame.
The way you manage blame says a lot about your leadership. As your business improves, your leadership must also mature. The leader-to-business relationship is causative: better leaders will grow their business faster, and weak leaders will cause their business to stagnate.
Immature leader: “It’s their fault.”
They don’t listen.
They don’t understand common sense.
They need to try harder.
Young leader: “It’s their fault, but it’s my responsibility.”
I need them to follow my instructions better.
I shouldn’t assume they know what I know.
I need to outline the process more clearly.
Mature leader: “It’s our fault.”
The team isn’t reaching our metrics.
Our clients deserve better from us.
Our common vision isn’t clear enough.
Leader: “It’s my fault.”
…even when it isn’t.
Because it’s always your fault.
If they’re not using “common sense”, it’s your fault: there’s no such thing.
If they’re not following instructions, it’s because they don’t know why.
If they’re not following your vision, it’s because they don’t see it.
When you’re in the Founder Phase and doing everything yourself, go ahead and hand out all the blame you want: you’re the only one there! But as you enter the Farmer Phase and train yourself to reach Tinker, it’s critical to cultivate the leadership skills necessary to run a larger company.
The people who got you here probably aren’t the ones who will get you there.
That includes YOU, Leader.