Mastering Responsibility is a Must for Effective Leadership

Business people shaking hands in officeWhether your leadership intent is your own success, or leading a team, task force, or entire enterprise, mastering responsibility will accelerate your progress. “Mastery” means having mastered your own internal Responsibility Process™ and applying the 3 Keys to Responsibility™ in daily life for even greater freedom, choice, and power.

Here are three reasons why mastering responsibility is a must for effective leadership:

1. Leaders respond

It’s what you do. Feeling a sense of ownership for a situation defines leadership. When you don’t feel a sense of ownership, you won’t respond resourcefully, hence you won’t be leading. When someone in leadership blames others, justifies his or her actions, or operates from shame or obligation, he/she has ceased to respond resourcefully. Being stuck — stopped — is the opposite of leading.

2. Others amplify the leader’s acts

Fair or foul, moral or immoral, supportive or conniving, a leader’s actions are scrutinized and amplified by and through followers. If you want followers or team members to take ownership, then you must master the practice of demonstrating ownership at all times — especially when things go wrong.

3. Followers won’t demonstrate greater responsibility than their leaders

It just makes sense — no level of an organization will demonstrate a higher level of responsibility-taking than the level to which it reports. This one principle suggests a number of decisions and expectations:

  • you shouldn’t expect your followers as a whole to step up any higher than you do
  • seek leadership mentors who are responsibility masters
  • realize leadership is about far more than hitting metrics — it’s about owning all actions and consequences across the board

Step up, take ownership — of the good and the bad. If you want your employees or team members to take responsibility, you need to be the one demonstrating it first. Don’t be afraid to be honest about making mistakes. This creates an atmosphere for your followers that invites them to take responsibility for their part without having to fear ramifications. Being a fair leader who masters taking responsibility instead of blaming or shaming others will make you a more powerful leader than you think — give it a try!

Christopher Avery, PhD, is a recognized authority on how individual and shared responsibility works in the mind and an advisor to leaders worldwide. Find additional resources to master leadership or build a responsible team (or family) at The Leadership Gift to enjoy a more productive way to live and lead.

Posted in Leadership, Responsibility, Teamwork on 09/10/2010 03:36 pm
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