Management Series : Taking Responsibility

The world certainly doesn’t need another top 10 list that pontificates on the rules for leadership in business, besides I think Kawasaki has the “Top 10” concept trademarked by now. Nonetheless, when you take a leadership role in a company you are forced to think about what kind of style and traits you want to exhibit in the quest to lead by example, at least this is what I have been doing and it’s been an interesting process that has combined my personal values with my experiences in watching others lead successfully and at other times fail.

This post is the first in a series I want to write and it’s titled Taking Responsibility because I can think of no other creed that should come first, a powerful combination of style and values.

I decided quite a quite while back that I was going to take personal responsibility for anything negative that happens under my watch even if I was legitimately not at fault or not the principal bad actor in play. The reason for this is simple, when things fail there is presumably a negative repercussion that costs time, money, or loss of confidence that detracts from the moral authority that has to be earned in order to effectively lead. With that in mind, when something does go wrong or not according to plan the emphasis should be not on assigning blame but determining what can be learned from the experience to affect future behavior. In other words, looking backward is a terrible way to lead going forward.

If I take responsibility for everything it will force me to examine even the smallest detail that I could have attended to differently. If even just one small thing could have shifted the outcome then the learning will be worth it and I’ll be a more effective manager and leader going forward.

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