This is the third in a series of articles examining Leadership Lessons from the highly effective, world-renowned leader named Dwight D. Eisenhower, the thirty-fourth president of the United States.
In the book entitled: Dwight Eisenhower’s Leadership Lessons, the editors write the following:
“On D-day, Eisenhower launched the Normandy invasion with fiery, confident rhetoric. But as he waited in his command trailer for news of the fate of his troops, he told his driver, ‘I hope I know what I’m doing. There are times when you have to put everything you are and everything you have ever learned on the line.’ And later, in his shirt pocket, aides found the communiqué he had prepared in case of disaster. It ended, ‘If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.”
Excellent leaders frequently step up and put everything they are and everything they have learned on the line. And, excellent leaders take full responsibility and accountability for their actions and those of the team or organization they lead.
This difficult but critical leadership characteristic separates the men from the boys, the women from the girls, excellent leaders from pretenders.
Everyone who studies leadership has been exposed to this critical leadership characteristic… taking full responsibility and accountability for their personal actions and those of the team or organization they lead. Talk to leaders in any industry in any part of the world and they will agree with this critical leadership characteristic. And yet, pick up any newspaper or magazine, listen to any TV or radio station, go online or access any other media. Over and over again you will read and hear about thousands… yes hundreds of thousands of “leaders” who turned tail and blamed everyone but themselves when things went wrong. Even with high profile leaders, this unfortunately happens every single day!
It takes a strong, values-driven woman or man; a strong values-driven leader to step up and “put everything they are and everything they have learned on the line.” It takes an even stronger values-driven leader to “take full responsibility and accountability for their actions and those of the team or organization they lead!”
I invite you to take a look at your own leadership record. When the chips are down, when the pressure is on, when things are going bad to worse, where are you? Are you hiding behind or blaming others you lead? Or are you like President Dwight D. Eisenhower, ready and willing to step up and proclaim to the world, “If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.”
After all… You Are The Leader!