The “I’m guilty of this too” trope
You’ve all gotten that email or spoken message from a boss, preaching to the team about how everyone needs to break some bad habit.
And then they say it.
“I know it’s tough. I’m guilty of this too, but we all need to come together and stop doing this.”
Can we agree this trope needs to die? Managers will say that almost like it’s a reflex, feeling like it gives them relatability or credibility. And I’m sure that the first time in history a manager employed this rhetorical device it did do just that. Nowadays it’s meaningless. It feels like a component from a criticism template, like when you sandwich a criticism between two compliments (another trope I hate with a passion).
Perhaps the biggest issue with it is that it comes off as “I know I have this flaw too, yet I’m the one telling you to change your behavior.”
There are better ways to be relatable. If you want to come off as a strong leader, don’t say “You guys need to stop doing this thing. I’m guilty of doing this too.” Say “I’m guilty of doing this thing, and I understand why it’s harmful, and I’m going to stop.” Get people to hold you accountable and follow your lead.