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Deflecting Praise. Accepting Blame.

Updated: Feb 25, 2019

Do you know people who crave praise, yet avoid responsibility? These people do not inspire followers. Pride creates a desire for all compliments to be directed towards ourselves. While true Humility, on the other hand, knows how to say “Thank you.” from a compliment—and then extend the praise outwards towards others.

When a team member exercises Humility—they are leading regardless of the positional title they hold. Why? Because they are individuals who know how to deflect praise away from themselves and towards every contributing individual.

On the reverse side: Pride creates a desire to deflect blame away from ourselves. Genuine Humility knows when to take ownership of the blame and protects the team because we are believing and acting like “It’s not about me.”

When an individual carries themselves with true Humility in the midst of a moment of blame—they set the example for accountability. Why? Because a leader is always responsible for what happens on a team—especially the bad things.

When things go well, a Leader of Character should deflect credit. But, when they go poorly, a Leader of Character must shoulder the blame. It is a steep and harsh learning curve—but the reward is a team which feels both praised and protected by you. This builds trust between the leader and the led—as well as team members.

These types of teams are unstoppable. They stick together through even the toughest times. They are the first to reach their goals because they know you have their back. Because of your example, they will have each other’s back as well. In the end, forging such teams is worth the discomfort of pushing our pride to the side and humbly accepting the blame.

Dig Deep Questions

  • Reflect on a time in which you witnessed someone deflect praise. What did it demonstrate to you?

  • Reflect on a time in which you witnessed someone shoulder blame. What did it demonstrate to you?

  • How does Humility aid you in deflecting praise?

  • How does Humility aid you in accepting blame?

  • What would it mean to the team if you deflected praise towards them?

  • What would it mean to the team if you accepted blame on their behalf?


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