Let’s say something you’re involved in doesn’t go the way you want it to, and it’s not your fault.
Really — you did all you were supposed to do, even a bit above and beyond what was required and/or expected of you. Someone else didn’t fulfill their role, some event interrupted you, or the weather didn’t cooperate. Whatever caused the issue, it damn sure wasn’t you.
So you’re absolutely right in absolving yourself of blame. But here’s the thing: Blaming anything outside of yourself will never empower you.
When someone or something else is to blame, what can you do about it? How can you use that to make yourself better? How can you take responsibility and use the situation for improvement if the blame resides outside of you?
Here’s how you lead: Place the blame on yourself.
No matter how terribly your teammates messed up or how dumb a mistake your partner made, when you take the responsibility, you are placing yourself in a position of self-examination. When you’re in this state, you can look at what you can do better — even if you are the MVP, there is always room for improvement. This is what a leader does: Reaches a high level, clearly shows himself as the best performer, and still continues to find ways to improve. This is how you set and raise the standard for everyone in the group, which in turn raises the entire collective, in turn empowering everyone.
That is something you can take the blame for.