Why Taking Responsibility Is Important In Leadership

You can always take responsibility. Even in situations where you believe that you are not at fault.

"But what if it’s not my fault?" I hear you say. Well, there are still elements that you can take ownership of, and you’ll feel so much better for it.

It is empowering to own a situation, when you look at things objectively and take responsibility. Taking ownership is so much better than feeling like a victim, it's empowering.

Taking responsibility for outcomes that have clearly been a result of the behaviour of others is not designed to reduce their role in the situation. It is so that you can feel empowered and move on with ease. It also gives you the opportunity to look at the lessons learned for future reference.

I really like Jack Canfield's suggestion of taking 100% responsibility.

Personally, I much prefer the idea that I should have made better decisions rather the belief that I was simply a by-product, under the control of someone else. In choosing to take responsibility as opposed to blaming others for what’s occurred, you get to own your personal power. Belief in the knowledge that you’re steering your own course is preferable to living the effects of other people’s behaviour and it indicates that you are in control.

I accept that I have no control over other peoples behaviour or decision making processes, I have no say in their definition of integrity. To completely blame someone else is saying just that. Instead, I choose to believe that I played some role in what took place. I am in control of my decision making processes and I can learn lessons and make better decisions in the future. If I lay 100% of the blame at their feet then they hold all the power.

When I’m unhappy with a situation or result and it appears that others have done the wrong thing, I use the following technique:

The very first thing I do is to have a mindset that is focused on solutions and lessons learned rather than blame. If it is their fault I acknowledge that and take the focus away from it.

What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently? If I was in the same situation tomorrow how we I change things? What could I have done to achieve a different outcome for me?

It is very rare that the answers to those questions don't give me an indication of where I can take responsibility. They usually identify where I could have made better decisions; next time I would check their references further, I would speak to previous clients, my due diligence would go deeper... You can see what I mean.

If we take responsibility for the situation then it is so much easier for us to live, learn and move on.By acknowledging the role we played in the outcome we can negate any bitterness or resentment that may take hold. The biggest gift of all is that we can change the outcome of any business deals we enter into in the future. When we acknowledge, we can make changes! You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.

Use the gift of hindsight to learn from your mistakes. Remember: It's not about placing the blame, it's about taking responsibility to empower yourself.

If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month.” Theodore Roosevelt


Alison Vidotto is the award winning author of 22 Leadership Fundamentals; the Door to Success says Push! A leadership keynote speaker and trainer, CEO of Vidotto Group and Founder of the Australian Charity for the Children of Vietnam (www.accv.net.au) Alison has a passion for leadership and development, both within herself and in others. She writes leadership articles for the Australian Business Women's Network (http://www.abn.org.au/blog-list/leadership/) Alison has also been published in the...

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