A Caveat For “My Bad” Leadership


Recently, I shared some thoughts about something I call “My Bad” leadership and the idea that I want to work with leaders who face crises and immediately think, “What could I have done better?” The opposite is “Your Bad” leadership. When the crap hits the fan, you start pointing fingers at others to assign blame.

It’s easy to understand why I prefer “My Bad” leaders over the alternative. That said, I recently watched an interview with SoundCloud CEO Alex Ljung that gave me pause to reflect on the nuances of my belief.

Ljung talks about how he subscribes to the leadership approach of passing along credit for successes to others while accepting failures as his own (i.e., he’s a “My Bad” leader). The caveat is that while this philosophy is certainly effective, sometimes it can go awry when accepting failures translates to meddling in the “fixing” process.

Explains Ljung, “What you’re doing when you’re [fixing everything] is you’re not empowering people to fix these things themselves. So you’re actually going against your own model to help others be empowered and successful.”

A potential unintended consequence of “My Bad” leadership, this is something I’m definitely going to keep in mind moving forward.

Photo credit: “Hunter Instructs During Timeout.” Clydeorama. March 9, 2012.