In an ever-changing environment, it is challenging for leaders to know everything that is happening with their employees, and sometimes employers are completely unaware of what those employees are doing. However, being a leader means we take responsibility for our employees’ actions as well as our own.
Taking responsibility is one of the ways to lead by example, because you set the standard and culture for your employees. Blaming others instead of taking responsibility and working toward a solution is unproductive and doesn’t facilitate personal or professional growth. As leaders, we should be mindful that our actions affect others; both those we encounter and those with whom we engage. Our employees observe how we handle ourselves and other involved parties. If we don’t demonstrate accountability and responsibility, we aren’t building and earning trust.
Here Are Some Ways for Leaders to Take Responsibility
The first step is to listen to your employees and receive feedback from them. Sometimes as leaders we do not actively listen, which allows us to miss the core and essential message or concern of the person trying to communicate with us.
By accepting ownership and responsibility for our own mistakes and that of our employees, we are acknowledging that we are not perfect, and even more important, we are taking ownership of the problem. For leaders, not blaming others should be a cardinal rule.
As leaders, we are responsible for ourselves and our employees. Therefore, it is important that we hold our employees accountable for their choices or mistakes, just as we hold ourselves accountable for our own missteps. This does not mean merely assigning blame or handing out punishments, but rather arriving at a solution and correcting the problem so that the employee is not only held to account but participates in the solution. Depending on the circumstance, accountability may be in the form of accepting disciplinary action, learning to use additional resources, or receiving mentoring, education, and training.
What is trust if our word is not our bond? Actions speak louder than our words and they must be aligned with what we say. It is important that we practice what we tell our employees. There is a direct correlation between employee trust and their level of engagement. If we as leaders are not consistent or we lack follow-through, how can we expect anything better from our employees?
Good leaders take responsibility, bad leaders place blame or do nothing. In the absence of trust, you will be ineffective in leading others. Let’s foster a positive culture and environment that promotes responsibility and accountability. Choose to take responsibility and be the change you want to see.