The hardest part of leadership is taking responsibility.
You-are-to-blaming-leaders are common. I-am-responsible-leaders are rare.
Magnificent leaders rise up, square their shoulders, and bear the responsibility of their decisions and behaviors.
Maxwell said, “Everything rises or falls on leadership.” Harry Truman added a mouth full when he said, “The buck stops here.”
When it counts:
Responsibility matters when it hurts.
Responsibility counts when others screw up. Responsibility is irrelevant when things go well.
The surest way to demotivate your team is to blame them for failures and take credit for successes.
Anger is a subtle symptom of not taking responsibility. Anger at others is blaming; it shifts responsibility from you to them.
Leaders who take responsibility:
- Believe in themselves and others.
- Seek solutions not scape-goats.
- Create safe environments where people learn from failure.
- Build strong teams. Blaming-leaders squash the passion and innovative spirit of others. On the other hand, taking responsibility demands you build a trustworthy, competent team.
- Enable and encourage others to act with confidence and courage. Engage, engage, engage.
- Delegate clearly while including accountability.
- Get their hands dirty when necessary while avoiding “leadership by pronouncement.”
- Provide training and resources. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
- Constantly evaluate progress and improve processes.
- Hire slowly and fire quickly.
Taking responsibility may turn you into a micro-manager. Learn to trust competent people.
A point of clarity:
Everyone is a leader because leadership is influence and everyone has influence. Everyone is not, however, an effective leader because effective leaders take responsibility.
Taking responsibility propels you down the path to maximum results and enhanced influence.
Peter Drucker insightfully said, “Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility.”
How do you express leadership-responsibility on a daily basis?
What suggestions do you have for leaders learning to take responsibility?