The fifth and final component of the Leadership Template is Responsibility. Whilst all the components of the template are equally important, responsibility has slightly more significance than the others. The reason I say this is because leadership is a responsibility in itself. It is not a right; it’s a privilege.
Speaking generally, but observing often, in our current world, responsibility is something some people are all too willing to avoid. What happens to them is everyone else’s fault. They are late because the ‘moron’ in front of them was driving too slow. They haven’t achieved results because they haven’t been given all the resources they need. The business isn’t performing because of their team. They’re in a bad moon today because they jammed their finger in the car door. It’s everyone else’s fault but theirs.
As Jim Rohn famously said “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of”. And this is what leaders have the responsibility to do. And not only leaders in a business sense, all leaders of self.
To put responsibility into context for the leadership template:
Responsibility – Asking questions, listening for the answers. Respecting, engaging and being inclusive with your team. Understanding you can’t achieve on your own.
Sir Angus Houston, a retired Senior Officer of the Royal Australian Air force was commissioned to oversee the MH370 and MH317 disasters and was appointed a Knight of the Order of Australia for his commitment. He shares very eloquently the responsibility that leaders have and calls it ‘Setting the standard impressively’. He believes the following to be key responsibilities for leaders today:
- provide clear direction – communicate intent
- establish and maintain the right culture – this should be values based
- communicate face to face – walk to listen
- build strong relationships – once you have people’s trust you have influence.
The obvious responsibility leaders have is to achieve results, lead their team towards a common goal and provide the strategy to get there. However, relevant leadership is much more than this. Results are the outcome of how a leader is – their behaviours and their actions.
As a leader you are responsible for:
- managing yourself, including your emotions and moods
- respecting and serving those around you
- being decisive
- communicating clearly
- managing your relationships
- maintaining the culture of your business
- using your time effectively
- listening to what’s going on around you
- being inclusive.
You are responsible for leading in a way that inspires, empowers and engages your team. The people you lead and the people you are able to influence look up to you, often simply because of your title. This is such a significant responsibility for leaders that you must take it seriously.
There is such diversity in business that one size fits all approach doesn’t work anymore. You must be agile, flexible and portable across different generations. You need to build strong relationships with your team in order to understand what motivates them and how to get the best from them.
You are a role model to your team and potential future leaders. This is a responsibility you must be willing to accept and embrace. It’s also an incredible honour and you have the opportunity to influence many in a very positive way if you take your responsibility seriously and treat it with the respect it deserves.