We Gain These 3 Things When We Avoid a "Pass-the-Buck" Opportunity

Updated: Dec 13, 2018



It is a familiar scenario. A team gathers to discuss a goal. Projections, ideas and hopeful outcomes exchange back and forth. A plan is formed. The team disperses to execute the plan. Sometime later, the team reconvenes to process the results of the plan. But, it is not good. They fell short of the goal. In the scenario in your mind, what happens next? 

Many of us have witnessed people play “pass-the-buck” in these situations. Our question to you is: “How does that make you feel when you witness this scenario?” 


As leaders, we gain trust, credibility and respect when we avoid a pass-the-buck opportunity. It is crucial for us to choose to “own it” and admit our actions instead. 

Does this mean we expose our own failures? Yes. Does it mean we may be perceived as weak? Yes. But, it also means we have the opportunity to be seen as human, willing to learn and most of all—strong enough to admit we are fallible. 


Anyone can pass blame or point fingers. Leaders go against the grain. They exercise Courage and Humility. They choose to be learners instead of finger pointers. If there is a true indiscretion or negligent failing which needs addressed on the team, a leader is strong enough to handle it with dignity. They coach the individuals concerned. After all, leaders must hold themselves accountable alongside those they lead. A team is always stronger with accountability.


No matter where the problem may lie, teams grow stronger when every person owns their own share of the undesired outcome. Not everything can be predicted.  But, we can learn from what was once unpredictable, so it is predictable in the future. When we “own it,” we learn from it and get better.


Dig Deep Questions

  • Share a time when you witnessed a “pass-the-buck” meeting. What feelings did you have towards those involved? What do you wish they had done differently

  • How do you think the organization could have grown if it had been handled differently? 

  • Have you ever been tempted to “pass-the-buck?” If so, what factors contributed to that desire? 

  • How might others positively perceive you if you chose to “own it” over finding blame? 

  • What do others receive when a leader chooses to “own it?” 


Making a shift towards taking responsibility and living with Humility is a lifelong journey and we want to partner with you through it. The Habits of Character Action Guides provide 6 months of daily, interactive training. 


Every month, you and your team focus on one specific habit of character based off of Dave Anderson's Becoming a Leader of Character book. These habits include: Courage, Humility, Integrity, Selflessness, Duty and Positivity. 


Get your FREE one-week guide with five Courage Workouts here and be the first to dive into the Character Action Guidebooks. For more resources and tools go to www.BecomingALeaderOfCharacter.com.


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