Taking responsability

At the beginning of one’s career, when things don’t go as expected, a manager is likely to ask what happened. Reasons will certainly exist, and the manager will take into account the circumstances and the context, before deciding on how to progress. Not meeting expectations, can range from nothing to a tough 1:1, losing a promotion, or losing a job. Typically the more junior the person, the less severe the consequences.

As one gets more experienced, the reasons start to lose weight. And as one approaches the top of the pyramid reasons are mostly irrelevant. What I have found when working with senior managers (C-level, Heads of Engineering and Directors), is that only two things really matter when things go south: a) does one take responsibility for what happened and b) did we learn from the situation. Nothing else matters.