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Taking the Blame - Value-Adding Power Move?

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on February 27, 2021, 5:03 am from Short Thank Yous and Feedbacks #42 & #43
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on February 26, 2021, 7:40 pm

Keep in mind that sometimes, during busy time, I speed-read things, so if I might miss something here and there -all my fault-.

Yeah, taking the blame might one of the most underrated behaviors. Might even call it a power move, in some situations -of the good, value-adding type, of course-.

Blame has a negative connotation.
If we re-phrase this, blame can be seen as a responsibility.
So taking the blame is taking the responsibility for a matter.

In another thread,
How Jeff Bezos Handled An Embarrassing Incident Well?

Quote from Matthew Whitewood on December 11, 2020, 2:12 pm

Jeff Bezos handled the blackmailing and allegation of him having an affair very well.
He turned this incident around and leveraged his comeback to grow Amazon further.

He took away all the leverage of the blackmailing party (David Pecker of the National Enquirer) by publicly admitting embarrassing personal matters.
And it is not an ordinary personal matter.
Going further, he framed the other party as a bully using underhanded tactics to blackmail and control him.
And rightly so. We need to stand up to bullies.

This is the case where taking the blame is a power move against your blackmailing adversary.
If someone blames you for something, you take the blame and frame the other as a sneaky blackmailer.

When It's Safe to Use

If taking the blame or responsibility for a matter does not speak badly about your character, it is usually quite effective.

Minor Mistakes Like in a Presentation

Boss: There's a mistake in the figure.

You: Thanks for pointing that out.
I will change it right away.
I always want to provide the right figures to our clients.

Big Mistake But You Are Truly Responsible

Boss: This was a big mistake. It costs us the project.

You: It is my responsibility.
I overlooked this area.
I will see how to rectify the situation and prevent this in the future.

When It's Not Safe to Use

When It's Highly Damaging to Your Reputation

Boss: I heard that the project failed because you are not organised.

You: I overlooked one aspect of the project.
It happened to be critical to its success.
Our team made sure to follow the timelines and plans in the other areas.

When It's Rumours Targeted at Your Character

Boss: I heard you like to steal credit for other people's work.

You: Never. I'm not sure who told you that.
I always give credit to the people who made the project a success.


In this post, I find the tweet by Guterres value-taking:

COVID-19 vaccination ‘wildly uneven and unfair’ (says clueless, virtue-signaling UN Secretary-General)

Guterres: I am ready to mobilize the full @UN System in full support of this effort.

He does not intend to take responsibility and understand the situation.
People can tell that this is not a case of taking ownership.
He is signalling his power and status.
And it's also virtue-signalling from Lucio's analysis because he frames himself as helping out in the COVID-19 efforts.

Lucio Buffalmano and selffriend have reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmanoselffriend

Very, very good analysis, Matthew.

Might into the "proven" techniques as well.

From what I've observed I'd add that, on average, people and leaders might gain more from taking the blame -or ownership- more often -including, generally, in the mindset-.
But the given situation always trumps the higher-level considerations, and your message does a great job at outlining the right strategy in more specific situations.

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Matthew Whitewoodselffriend
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Hello Matthew,

This is quite an interesting analysis. I think this is what Jocko Willink calls "Extreme ownership". Isn't it?


Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood

Thank you Lucio!
I think an ownership mindset is most important as well.

I remember watching your video about whether a Toastmasters president should feel like he owns the club.
I believe if you genuinely care about giving value and taking in the feedback of the club members, that is the right kind of ownership.
If you feel like you own the club in the sense that you can exploit the members for your own benefit, then that is a bad "ownership" mindset.

Quote from John Freeman on February 28, 2021, 11:49 am

This is quite an interesting analysis. I think this is what Jocko Willink calls "Extreme ownership". Isn't it?

I recall! You shared about Jocko Willink's concept of Extreme ownership.
It was interesting, and thanks for that.

Here I wanted to examine some situations about applying this mentality.
And, in actual situations, whether it is smart to take the blame.

It is important to take responsibility while maintaining the respect of people toward you.

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