Leadership & the Art of Deflection

There is nothing more unsettling than seeing how well some leaders develop the skill to deflect criticism, especially those leaders at the top of an organization.

Whether a CEO, executive director, pastor, imam, rabbi, director, board chair, city counsellor or mayor etc. the concept of “the buck stops here” seems alien while the ability to shrug off criticism to others in and outside of the organization is uncanny.

If you are a leader and you meet questions and criticisms with the following responses it is time to reconsider your role and possibly step away:

“Yep you’re right and I just don’t get why our people are doing this?”

“I have been saying the same thing for weeks/months/years!”

“I agree, the decisions being made are ridiculous.”

“What do you want me to do about it?!?!?”

If the above or any variation of the above is coming from you then you, my friend, are part of the problem…and depending on how high you rest in the organization, you might just be the problem.

I have a mantra that goes something like this – if there is an endless problem in the organization no matter how small, even if the toilets are broken and never fixed, the root of the issue ultimately rests at the top.

Leaders have a responsibility to ensure their organization is decisive and functioning…if it is not that is their problem. It is not the previous leader’s problem. It is not the staff’s problem. It is not the client or vendor’s problem – it is the leader’s. The best leaders recognize this and do not waste time with excuses and deflection – they get to the root of the issue and ensure a solution is put in place.

Leaders – stop deflecting, stop offering excuses – LEAD.

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