One of the things I notice about effective leaders around the world is that they ignite the purpose that people who follow them live for, or a belief that they hold — whether it’s right or wrong, good or bad.
What I’ve seen in leaders that do really well and are usually driving great causes, is that they accept responsibility for the actions and words they deploy in the communities in which they live, or beyond.
Accepting responsibility may seem something we all do, but the reality is that most people don’t actually do it. Accepting responsibility is shown in at least four ways:
- Acknowledging what went right or wrong.
- Announcing or engaging the person to whom a wrong was done in a conversation about the situation.
- Apologizing for actions that may have been inappropriate.
- Taking measures of actions and words to correct the mistake they made.
Accepting responsibility is easy when things are good. Accepting responsibility when something goes wrong is where great leaders show up and do something about it.
In my experience, those who choose to accept responsibility when it’s wrong and do what they need to do to make it right usually end up with a fruitful conversation, and sometimes better circumstances than if they never made the mistake or corrected it.
Acknowledging the people involved is important. We may take credit for something when, in reality, we have a team that made it work. I use this example all the time with entrepreneurs those who tell me “I did it myself.”
Of course, there are things that you do yourself. Meanwhile, the reality is we also leverage the infrastructure around us. Do you deliver your product? Was it delivered to you? Did you have to go somewhere with it? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, consider this: you didn’t pay for the road you drove on by yourself. The whole community did. You didn’t create the infrastructure of the internet you use, but leveraged the work of others. It takes a community — whether you see it or not — to get the results we want.
Accepting responsibility means acknowledging the people involved even though they might not have contributed in a positive way. Still, they were part of the process.
BEFORE YOU GO
We see our blogs as opportunities for dialogue. Please share your thoughts as comments.
- What can you do to acknowledge your responsibilities?
- What can you do to celebrate (or correct) actions taken relative to your responsibilities?
- What other things have you done to accept responsibility?
Faris Alami is Founder and CEO of International Strategic Management, Inc. (ISM). He works internationally, presenting Exploring Entrepreneurship Workshops and other entrepreneurial ecosystem — related ventures.