I’ve been devouring this new book I have by the late Edwin Friedman called “A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix.”  It’s been one of those books that came at the perfect time for me as a person and as a leader.  One of the many great topics he discusses is our society’s constant blame placing and lack of personal responsibility.  When challenges and struggles come, we are constantly blaming others.  He writes that good leaders don’t do that and take personal responsibility for the situations.  

I am beginning to realize that to be a strong leader/person, you have to be willing to take the responsibility when things go wrong.  Too long have we been too quick to “displace blame.”  While its really convenient, its not helpful and no growth and is really, well, honestly, its cowardly.  

Friedman calls it a failure of nerve. Here’s a little blurb from his book where he ties this into our political situation:

Perhaps the most outstanding example of blame displacement in chronically anxious America is what has come to be called anti-incumbency, the tendency of voters to reject whoever is in office almost irrespective of their political party affiliation.  This flailing at the political winds amounts to a collective irresponsibility on the part of voters seeking magical, quick-fix answers to a complex range of problems of existence.  Instead of focusing on their own response to the challenges of change, these voters find fault in their political stars.  And this is not just a political phenomenon; it is occurring with regard to coaches, educators, CEOs, and clergy, not to mention marriage partners and parents. 

Far too often, pastors, parishioners, spouses, children, etc are so quick to place the blame on someone else that they miss their responsibility in the pain.  I like to say that there are no innocent parties in fights, arguments or disagreements.  (I am sure there are exceptions here – but even when someone is a complete victim far too often this victim mentality paralyzes growth).