Statistician Links Personal Responsibility to Leadership Effectiveness

Folkman's Irresponsibility graph

Graph from Folkman’s article

I reported this in yesterday’s broadcast of Christopher’s Insights. It is worthy of a spot here too. (Sign up for Insights, i.e., timely news and updates, at the top right of my home page)

I was pleased to see noted leadership development expert Joseph Folkman’s study in Forbes showing how much more effective managers are when they take—rather than avoid—personal responsibility for decisions, problems, and mistakes.

Here are two potent excerpts:

…leaders who act irresponsibly are rated as very ineffective (5th percentile) and their direct reports have low levels of engagement (17th percentile). Looking further into the data on engagement we found that 59% of direct reports who worked for an irresponsible manager were thinking about leaving the company.

Irresponsible managers who resist taking responsibility assume they are dodging a bullet. …it is clear they dodged nothing. …the potential negative effects of taking responsibility would be far fewer than the negative effects that result from taking the blame.

Managers who rate low on personal responsibility in Folkman’s study also earn the following ratings:

  • Uninspiring
  • Lack of personal integrity
  • Hordes information
  • Lack of vision
  • Lack of humility—no need for personal improvement
  • Low effort
  • No concern for others
  • Untrustworthy

I’m thankful Folkman quantified these results, and I’m not surprised. All true leadership begins with self-leadership, and a direct route to self-leadership is an active Responsibility practice. Consider this leadership team success case sent to me by Joe Mitchell (LinkedIn), a client who is President of Trinity Hospital Twin City in Dennison, Ohio:

When I came aboard three years ago, we were emerging from bankruptcy with new owners. We were also dealing with anxiety, fear and lack of confidence precipitated by the many changes in healthcare. Changes in reimbursement, roles and responsibilities all required some more creative, comprehensive and robust solutions that leaders were having difficulty implementing because of unsupportive mindsets. The change I wanted to see was a mindset change that allowed leaders to see that they had personal power and they could access it to solve the problems that they and the organization were facing.

I sponsored everyone on the executive leadership team to participate in The Leadership Gift Program. We set aside time to apply the tools together. The main benefit has been the leaders’ new ability to move their mindset from an ineffective place to one where they can more effectively manage and lead. These mindset shifts have had a significant impact on financial results, patient satisfaction results and quality results.

In 2015, we were recognized by the Studer Group as an Evidence-Based Leadership Organization of the Month. We were also recognized by the National Rural Health Association as one of the Top 20 Critical Access Hospitals for Quality. The empowered mindsets of our leaders were instrumental in achieving these results.
– Joe Mitchell, RN, FACHE


For businesses, Partnerwerks provides a unique, proven model that ignites cultures of self-direction and ownership.

Posted in Responsibility on 11/18/2015 01:25 am
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