When I captained my sports team in high school, I complained that coach always blamed things on me. If I got yelled at for failing to bring a watch to practice, fine–that was my mistake. But if the weather turned, or the equipment broke, I still got yelled at. I hated it. It wasn’t fair! After all, those events were not “my fault.”
Here’s the thing, though. Despite the fact that I didn’t want to be blamed for the things that weren’t my fault, I wanted to be in charge. I wanted to keep the fun, independent part of leadership and dispose of the downside.
In tech companies, I see managers and directors do this all the time. When things go wrong in an organization, the leader’s first move is to point out when the problem was not his or her fault. This behavior is a hallmark of weak leaders who fail to solve problems.