Responsibility and trust. Not the sexiest of leadership topics. Maybe that’s why all too often they don’t have much of a life beyond clichéd leadership mantras.
But leaders who don’t behave responsibly fracture the trust we place in them. Think Donald Trump and his inflammatory comments about Muslims. Trump was roundly taken to task from all sides but did that have any effect on him? C’mon, it’s “The Donald” we’re talking about.
Lack of Responsibility = Lack of Popularity
For Innate Leaders a lack of humility and an inability to acknowledge getting things wrong doesn’t show leadership, it shows arrogance.
Consistently being irresponsible as a leader has consequences – Trump’s poll ratings took a dive after the uproar. He may not be changing his tune any time soon, but it’s heartening to see that Trump’s brand of leadership isn’t so popular after all.
Responsible leaders earn people’s trust. And as dreamy as it may sound, the more we show true responsibility in leadership, the less influence we give to people who mistake belligerence for strength. Now that’s something I’d hope we can all get behind.
Responsible Leadership: Create a New Normal
Honesty and transparency are the hallmarks of responsible leadership, and leaders who demonstrate these attributes are the leaders who can build real and lasting trust in an organization.
But the frequency of scandals like Volkswagen’s emissions cheating show just why the expectation that businesses and governments lack transparency is now the norm. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Leading responsibly not only benefits your organization, your example helps set a new norm where trust and transparency are a given.
Responsibility goes hand in hand with accountability but responsible leadership is about more than being accountable for the performance of your organization. Responsible leadership is about making things happen and creating the right environment for your teams to make things happen too.
Question the Status Quo
Responsible leaders instill in people the confidence to not only lead within their own sphere, but also the confidence that they can challenge leaders to look at things in a different way. In fact, responsible leadership is about setting a tone where questioning the status quo is welcomed and constructive criticism is invited and discussed honestly.
A Mindset of Responsible Leadership
Do you want to build trust and lead responsibly? Here’s a few ideas to develop a mindset of responsible leadership:
- If you or your organization makes a mistake don’t make excuses – as a leader you need to own it, fix it and share what you’ve learned.
- If you’re looking to move into a leadership role, when there’s a problem get the help you need from your colleagues, but don’t assume someone else will step in to solve the issue.
- Be honest and tell the truth – others will follow your lead.
- When your organization or team succeeds make sure you recognize and appreciate their work.
- Ask and invite questions – “why do we do things this way?”
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