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Leadership by Choice: Increasing Influence and Effectiveness through Self-Management by Eric Papp

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Chapter 4

The Abdication of Accountability

Sue You!

“Have your feelings been hurt today at work? Has somebody caused you distress? If so, call the law offices of 1-800-JoeNoResponsibility.”

Some days you can't go 5 minutes without hearing an advertisement for some type of lawyer. We live in a society where people point the finger, not at themselves, but at others. “Hey, it's not my fault; I can just hire an attorney.” “Hey, it's not my fault; it's my boss's fault.”

This type of mentality permeates our culture, as seen in some reality TV shows. When it first came out, one of my favorite reality shows was The Apprentice, a show where people competed to be Donald Trump's next apprentice. Each week, someone not up to the task was fired from the show. But in later seasons, getting fired centered on drama in the boardroom and who could best defend himself or herself.

More and more frequently, “You're fired!” seemed to center around defending a lack of accountability. This meant that everyone focused on trying to pinpoint flaws in someone else's performance, for fear of being fired themselves.

That's the wrong lesson to teach people, because it teaches them that they can avert their responsibility by blaming others. And whoever is better at deflecting the blame is the winner, which hardly seems fair or worthy of admiration.

Unfortunately, in today's society we seem to hold people less and less accountable for their actions, and we are paying the price for it. When you breed and teach ...

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