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Leadership Means Owning the Failure

As in every industry, leaders in the mortgage industry eventually run into some kind of setback. It could be lost revenue; it could be problems with compliance; it could be regional economic challenges. Whatever it is, it’s only naturally when these things occur to start looking for the cause. Who’s to blame for what has happened?

The first thing we often do is look to our employees. Which employees were responsible for the problems? If we replace or reprimand those employees, the problems should sort themselves out, right? Well, not necessarily. We typically think of monitoring employee performance as a means of understanding how well our employees are doing. What if, instead, we thought of it as a metric for ourselves? How well are we doing as leaders of those employees?

Leadership means owning the failure. When things go wrong, we don’t just seek out an employee to blame. We ask what we should have done differently as leaders. Perhaps we didn’t provide enough training; maybe we didn’t give our employees the right incentives; it’s possible that we didn’t put the right people in the right positions. Whatever it is, we as leaders necessarily play a role in every failure.
Next time we run into another setback, let’s think about the incident as a learning moment—not just for our employees who were involved but also for ourselves. How can we set up our employees for success the next time around? This is the kind of question the best leaders will be asking.