The word “responsible” has to do with a moral, legal, or mental accountability. Responsibility is a tough concept for many to master. And that’s more evident than ever as we witness unprecedented rates of decline in all aspects of our society. From hospitals to schools, from bureaucracies to boardrooms, the lack of personal responsibility on the part of leaders is cause for great concern.
True leaders know that they must take responsibility for many things, even when it’s uncomfortable or inconvenient. Many of today’s leaders are shirking their responsibilities by blaming those who came before them. The “I didn’t create this mess, so it’s not my problem” mindset is just not acceptable to today’s modern leaders who want to stand up, lead, and create true change.
Our best and brightest leaders are the ones who understand the mistakes of the past. They are cognizant that no one man or woman is responsible for something happening. They know that the creation of corporate, political, religious, and other organizational disasters required the ideas, input, and actions of many parties – a perfect storm if you will. And, that’s where it ends. They understand the circumstances; they note them, they take from them valuable insights or lessons to be learned, and then move on to doing their job – being a leader.
They don’t endlessly blame, name call, or berate, but rather they focus, build teams of advisors and implementers, discuss, debate, and then from there, create the plans and strategies needed to fulfill their mission and vision.
The best leaders are actually the ones who take personal responsibility very seriously. They have strength of mind and fortitude of heart to take full responsibility for what they think, say, and do while in a leadership capacity. They’ll also stand strong against criticism and blame as well – things to be expected and accepted as part of being in a position of power. Warranted or not, rock-solid leaders won’t allow naysayers and other negative influencers to derail them.
You can’t lead and create change unless you can step into taking full responsibility for your position as a leader. How do you fare when it comes to taking responsibility? Are you truly taking responsibility for your actions, or do you find yourself secretly or overtly blaming others for the decisions you have to make now that you’re in charge? What could you be doing differently? Seek input from others to garner a better view on how you’re perceived as a leader. Your personal insights, combined with valuable feedback from others, can help you to polish your skills for the benefit of everyone.
“The price of greatness is responsibility.” — Winston Churchill
“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.” — Max DePree
Tara Kachaturoff is the creator, producer and host of Michigan Entrepreneur TV, a weekly television talk show featuring business leaders and businesses from start-up to stellar. With over 15 years of experience in corporate finance in the tech sector, she now coaches executives, business professionals, and entrepreneurs on leadership, management, productivity, and marketing issues. Tara is also the author of 21 Qualities of a Leader from which this article is excerpted.