My all time favourite TV series is M*A*S*H, a comedy/drama centred around the doctors and nurses of the 4077th M*A*S*H unit during the Korean War. The series was so popular that it outlasted the duration of the 3 year war, spanning 11 seasons and 251 episodes.

The strong characterisation and story lines presented thought provoking themes that provide an ideal platform for lessons on life and leadership. Whether you are a fan of the show or not, I'm sure you will connect with my leadership insights from M*A*S*H.

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES features bite-sized, candid insights that speak into the gritty space of leadership through the eyes of a fellow leader seeking to "lead with all diligence" (Romans 12:8).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Who's To Blame?

Episode 15:  Tuttle

Trapper:  Listen, how did you come up with a name like Tuttle   anyway?
Hawkeye:  He was my imaginary childhood friend.
Trapper:  You had an imaginary friend?
Hawkeye:  Yea, if anybody said, “Who knocked over the garbage?” I said “Tuttle”. If they said, “Who broke that window?” “Tuttle.”  Who wet the bed?”
Trapper:  Tuttle.

In an attempt to help out Sister Theresa from the local orphanage with money and medical supplies, Hawkeye invented Captain Tuttle as a fictional scapegoat to credit the blame for the unauthorised philanthropy. 

There seems to be a default setting within human beings that automatically passes blame onto someone or something else when things go wrong.  Maybe the childhood rhyme “Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?” planted a seed for what has grown into a significant ‘denial and blame’ epidemic in adulthood.  Leaders understand the challenge of discerning responsibility when those we lead play the denial and blame game.  However, for a leader to blame others for their own actions is to abdicate responsibility and risk the credibility of their leadership. Author Reggie McNeal acknowledges that, "All of us make mistakes and exercise poor judgement occasionally. The key is to get in front of critics by owning mistakes quickly." I find it refreshing when a leader steps up and accepts responsibility for their actions by saying, “I messed up” or “I got it wrong.”

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