Leadership is an intricate dance between recognizing achievements and addressing setbacks. But how does a true leader handle the dual nature of these challenges and triumphs?

Absorbing Blame, Reflecting Praise

The quintessential mark of effective leadership is not in always steering the ship flawlessly, but in guiding it through turbulent waters with grace and responsibility. When there are victories to celebrate, it’s vital that leaders magnify their team’s efforts and let them bask in the glow of success. After all, achievements are often a collective endeavor.

Conversely, when things don’t go as planned, a genuine leader doesn’t indulge in the blame game. It might be tempting to pinpoint a team member’s mistake, especially when under external scrutiny. However, indulging in this behavior not only dampens team morale but can also chip away at the mutual trust that’s so essential in team dynamics.

Why This Approach Matters

Through years of experience, I’ve come to understand that shouldering the responsibility for the team’s missteps and setbacks has a profound impact. By doing so, leaders:

  1. Build Trust: Team members feel safe, knowing that their leader will stand up for them, even when things go awry.
  2. Promote Risk-Taking: When team members aren’t paralyzed by the fear of repercussions for every minor mistake, they become more innovative and willing to step outside their comfort zones.
  3. Foster Team Morale: Recognizing and celebrating the team’s accomplishments helps boost their confidence and reinforces their value within the organization.

Conversely, when leaders hog the limelight during successes and shift blame during failures, they risk creating a toxic work environment. Such behavior can lead to a lack of initiative, low morale, and a high attrition rate.


In essence, leadership isn’t about shining in the spotlight but ensuring that the team’s light never dims. By standing at the forefront during challenges and stepping back to applaud during victories, leaders not only cultivate a resilient and confident team but also lay the foundation for sustained success. Remember, a leader’s true strength lies not in avoiding failure but in rising every time they fall and helping their team do the same.