Some time back I wrote about leadership as accepting personal responsibility for one’s actions. Responsible leaders face up to the consequences of what they have done. They don’t externalize blame by saying it was the fault of someone or something else. Admitting responsibility can be excruciatingly difficult, especially when significant consequences are involved. They run away from accountability and betray the principle of personal responsibility. C. S. Lewis once said, “Courage is every virtue at the breaking point.” For far too many leaders, acceptance of responsibility is the point where their integrity begins to fray and break.
The biblical account of Cain and Abel provides an example of a still deeper problem. In a fit of jealousy and rage, Cain murders his brother Abel. After the event, God asks Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He is not seeking information about Abel. He knows what has happened. Rather, he is calling Cain to account for what he has done.(more…)