Accepting blame

For Father’s Day this year, my youngest daughter wrote a list of things she has heard me say or that she has learned from me. When I read the list, I must have gotten some dust in my eyes because I had to wipe a tear away. One of the things she wrote was “always accept blame when it is your fault.”

Years before I started in the hotel business, I was in the restaurant business and ran several Wendy’s for an investment group. I remember one time that we had had a terrible month and sales were down and expenses were up, and all the partners wanted to meet with me. The purpose of the meeting was probably to give me a whipping over the bad month and probably threaten to fire me over it.

Some people love to pass the blame to other people or other influences when something goes wrong. So, I walked into that meeting and all the partners looked like they were ready to take me out and flog me in the street. I remember I ask to talk first in the meeting, and they agreed. I began by taking all the blame because behind all the reasons, it really was my fault. My lack of leadership that month was the reason. So, I accepted all the blame and them moved on to how I was going to correct the problem.

I watched as the steam faded out of the partner’s faces and replaced with acceptance of the solutions. I have zero doubt that had I went in that room and named all the things and other people to blame that I would have found myself out of a job that afternoon. My acceptance of the blame wasn’t superficial. It really was my fault and I guess they recognized the honesty with which I accepted it.

The bible says in Proverbs 15:1, “a soft-spoken word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” That is a pretty good verse to live by when something goes wrong and everyone is looking for who to blame. KT

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