Do You Take Responsibility?

When we are successful in life, we must remain humble. When we fail in life, we must take responsibility and accept it. These are very difficult, but essential.

In previous articles, we have discussed having humility, and why we need to have humility to be a highly effective leader. We need to take responsibility and make the decision to have humility. That’s what humility it, a decision. There are certain circumstances that make the decision easier or harder.

For example, if you haven’t done a lot in life and you have no ambition to achieve a lot in the future, then it is a lot easier to have humility.

1. Humility

However, if you have achieved a lot and you have ambitions to achieve a lot more, it is much harder to have humility. The reason for that is, success can go to our heads and people can become cocky or arrogant. They let it go to their heads basically. So, we need to be strong in these situations and make the decision to have humility.

In my experience of working in the engineering industry, I have found that most people do not let success go to their heads. They make the decision to have humility. I believe this is true in most industries, especially with the teams who are not in leadership positions.

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It seems to be when people become supervisors, team leaders or managers that they let things go to their head. I have worked with some very arrogant and egotistical leaders before, and they were not followed by anyone.  Have also worked with leaders who had humility, and they were followed by everyone.

A highly effective leader is one who will always have humility, no matter how successful he/she is. They go the extra mile when required, and they help others to do the same and show them the way to humility.

I have always worked very hard to not let any successes I had go to my head. I don’t like arrogance, so I would never allow myself to get like that and I would always have humility. I find that it is my responsibility to make that decision.

2. Responsibility

As part of a team and being a highly effective leader, it is our responsibility to determine just how effective we will be. What we choose to value is also our responsibility, and those values will either keep us on the right path or they won’t.

The decision to take responsibility is not an easy thing to do. It doesn’t matter if you are in a leadership position or you are one of the team. Taking responsibility is a lot more difficult for the low performing leaders, just as the decision to have humility is difficult for the high performing leaders.

It doesn’t matter how we look at it, this is hard work. But we must not give up on making these decisions.

If we decide to not take responsibility then this will create a lack of trust within our team. This is common when it comes to low performing team and insecure leaders. When it comes to taking responsibility, they duck and dive anywhere they can.

When it comes to allocating tasks to team members they will always have an excuse; it is not their job. They don’t get paid enough. They don’t know how etc.

A highly effective leader would do the opposite. If a job needs doing, they will volunteer first to do that job to the best of their abilities. Especially if a low performing leader decided that they can’t do it.

3. Influence

This is an opportunity for the highly effective leader to raise their status within the team, and increase their influence. So, the secret is, when a low performing leader doesn’t want to step up, jump on the opportunity and step up instead of them.

When a highly effective leader does step up, they immediately increase their influence and trust with the team. They have made the decision to take the responsibility to do the task. Now it their responsibility to complete the task to the best of their ability and achieve the desired results.

If they can achieve these results, then their influence and trust will increase even further. If they cannot then it may cause a lack of trust with the team, and also with their leader.

However, it is rare that a highly effective leader will not achieve at least the desired results. They know that to keep increasing their influence and trust with their leader, they need to help the leader by focussing on the task. They will not stop focussing until the desired results are achieved.

The leader of any team has total responsibility for every result, so they focus on helping the team achieve them. If they don’t then they risk being replaced by another leader. A highly effective leader does not want to see that happen.

As a highly effective leader’s influence and trust increases with their leader, and they continue to achieve results, they will start to stretch their influence. They will begin to influence leaders in different teams and departments within the organisation.

When they decided to take responsibility and achieved great results, they started to build a reputation for themselves. As their reputation developed, they were relied upon to give their opinion on certain things.

At this stage, the highly effective leader is still one of the team, but they are performing at a higher level. They are especially at a much higher level than the low performing leader.

4. A Highly Effective Leader’s Behaviour

With the highly effective leader’s newly found reputation, they start to influence the direction that the team are headed. They also start to influence the decisions that leader makes.

If you want to strive towards becoming a highly effective leader, then you must start behaving and thinking like a highly effective leader. For example, a highly effective leader will wake up in the morning, and be hungry to seek out the opportunity to increase their influence with their leader, and their team.

A highly effective leader is driven to achieve great results, and will not stop until those results are achieved. A highly effective is not short sighted, they see the vision for the team just as good as the leader does. Most of all, a highly effective leader will always take responsibility.

Think about the team you are in now? Do you have leaders who are willing to take responsibility? Or, do you have leaders who are not, and make excuses? What kind of leader are you right now?

If you were part of a team of low performing leaders, where everybody was insecure and not willing to take responsibility for anything. How would you feel? Frustrated. However, this would be your time to take responsibility, increase your influence with your leader, and achieve great results.

If you were to do this then the leader’s frustration would ease, and the team would see you as a role model. You taking the responsibility would send a message to the other team members to follow in your footsteps.

If you were part of a team of high performing leaders, where everybody was secure and were all willing to take responsibility for everything. How would you feel? Great. Every task would be completed with great results. There wouldn’t be any frustration in anybody, just happiness.

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Everybody would find it easy to focus on achieving great things. Everybody’s influence would increase with the leader and each team member. However, this would be yours and the team’s time to influence the other leaders, teams and departments.

If you were to do this, your influence will multiply, your reputation would continue to grow, and so would your followers. It is a win-win situation for the whole organisation. Would you like to be part of this team?

When it comes down to it, the only difference between the two teams we have just discussed is; one team is negative, and one team is positive. The low performing leaders are negative and have a bad attitude. The high performing leaders are positive and have a great attitude.

As it is a decision to take responsibility, it is also a decision to be negative or positive. If you want to be a highly effective leader, make the decision to be positive and have a great attitude.

It is never wrong, to do the right thing. We must take the responsibility to do the right thing, and take ownership for our actions.

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

Check out my other articles by Clicking HERE

All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

31 thoughts on “Do You Take Responsibility?

  1. Hi, Tom!
    This is an excellent article. I have to say that I have never thought about what a leader I am because everything works naturally for me. Working as a nurse has put me very often into leadership or as a team member who tries to support others.
    I think I easily fill my roles, if it is leading or obeying, as long the work gets done.
    When I am a leader, I am more the one who works even harder than the rest of my team. I have seen leaders who only give orders but don’t actually work. I wouldn’t accept this of myself. I am a believer, and when Jesus can humble himself, who am I to be arrogant.
    I don’t like arrogance the same as you, Tom! People who see that mistakes and weaknesses belong to us human beings are humble and know their position. I would always follow such a leader.
    I think arrogant people are insecure people and need to learn to trust themselves and others.
    Great post, Tom! It helps a lot to ponder about ourselves and to rethink our positions. 🙂

    1. Hi Sylvia,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so happy that you thought this was an excellent article, it means so much to me.

      I appreciate you sharing your expereinces as a nurse. There will be others who read this article who will be a nurse and they will be able to relate to you and hopefully learn form you as much as they learn from me. You are a true leader in your role as a nurse because leaders are supposed to work harder so their people and for their team. I admire you and thank you gain for sharing your expereinces.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  2. Hello Tom! This is a really great piece with great advice. I can relate.

    I had gone on an interview a while back. The manager who interviewed me had the usual planned questions. Then he asked me a certain one, and I can’t quite remember exactly what it was, but I definitely remember his response to my response.

    When I told him what I would do in this particular situation, he turned to me and said, “wow, I wouldn’t even have done that”, like I had said something that he should have been thinking about, being a manager and all, but he had not.

    Of course, I did not get the job, probably because he thought I would have been better than him, but I don’t really know why.

    Point being, that a manager should bring it to the table and know everything about everything that their job entails.

    Being pro-active like that can really have an impact on how others perceive you as a leader.

    If you do not take responsibility for your part, how can you expect others to follow your lead? They most likely will not.

    I like how you incorporate being humble with responsibility. Most people would not realize these two go hand in hand.

    If you are not humble, then you are not open to improvement.

    Improvement is responsibility and they are all connected.

    Very enlightening!

    I appreciate the read Tom. Keep doing what you’re doing!

    Angela

    1. Hi Angela,

      Thank you for your very detailed comment. I’m really pleased that you found this a great read, means so much to me.

      I appreciate you sharing your experience in your job interview lately and I’m really sorry to hear you didn’t get the job. I think you are right, the reason you didn’t get the job is because the manager thought you would be a threat to his position. That is what you call an insecure leader. So, don’t get too down about that. You did well and you know it.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

    2. Hi Angela,

      Thank you for your very detailed comment. I’m really pleased that you found this a great read, means so much to me.

      I appreciate you sharing your experience in your job interview lately and I’m really sorry to hear you didn’t get the job. I think you are right, the reason you didn’t get the job is because the manager thought you would be a threat to his position. That is what you call an insecure leader. So, don’t get too down about that. You did well and you know it.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  3. Tom,

    I’ve seen some managers that shouldn’t have been managers. Often times, in large corporations, people get promoted simply because of time on the job. The problem with this, is that they don’t have a manager mindset. Well, leader mindset.

    Back at my previous job, I still shop there, but I haven’t managed it in a year (tomorrow). I was let go over things that my boss told me to do. Some things, I refused, like taking money from the cash registers and dumping the money in a big bin and putting that in the safe instead of counting it each night and making sure all monies was accounted for. I refused to do that, and she started cursing at me. Regardless, the next week, she fired me.

    Now, when I go back to shop there – I finally stopped about a month ago, the place looks bad now and everyone looks miserable – there are people that were promoted that really should not have been. Managers made with associates that always tried starting drama, and telling lies about the other employees.

    I actually feel bad for the workers there – they’ve all been switched out and they all look miserable. The place is run down by the new GM that took. It’s dirty, and everyone walks with their heads down, shuffling along. It’s quite sad.

    But it shows that as you’ve mentioned, not everyone can be a leader. All the people that I worked hard to recruit, train and help lift them up are gone. They left soon after I did apparently. They call sometimes asking if I’m a manager elsewhere, they want to work for me. But I tell them I only work for myself now. They still want me to hire them, but I’ve yet to make money. 🙂

    But it’s so true what you say. Not everyone should be a manager, because they’re not a leader.

    Great information!

    Katrina

    1. Hi Aparna,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found this a wonderful article.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  4. Hey Tom, another great piece of work.

    I remember my time in the forces and being responsible for a crew and several pieces of artillery equipment, it never really concerned me whether I was right for the job or not, but what helped me was the fact that I really enjoyed what I did and got on with anybody.

    I’m not saying I was a born leader or anything like, but loving what you do and a good communicator are up there for me as the 2 essential things to have.

    Humility was something I never really thought about and to be honest, didn’t see much (if at all any) amongst leaders in the forces, it was when I came into civilian-street that I really came across it.

    I have comes across a few big egos in business and I guess one of the reasons I choose to go freelance.

    Once again Tom, thank you for sharing your wealth of experience in an area that should be key to all businesses.

    1. Hi Mick,

      Thank you for your comment as always. I’m so happy that you found this a great article, means a lot to me.

      I appreciate you sharing your experiences working in the forces as their will be a lot of people who read this who were also in the forces and will be able to relate to you. All leaders are born Mick, I have never met a leader who wasn’t born 🙂

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  5. Great article! As I read each section I either saw something in me I can improve on or saw something in a manager I’ve had that I just despised. Your article really hit on the best things to focus on to be a good leader. Have humility and take responsibility for actions will take anyone far.
    Great tips. I look forward to more great articles!
    Jamie

    1. Hi Jamie,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad that you found this a great article.

      It’s great that you found area that you can work on and improve on by reading different sections of this article. Please update me on how you are getting on with working on yourself.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  6. What a timely post. I work with 3 team leaders. One is power-hungry and really sucks at being a leader. She lacks humility, has poor judgment, and doesn’t want to do the work of listening to others or pitching in when needed. She doesn’t take ownership for her actions either, and can never admit when she’s wrong. I’ll send her this article.

    1. Hey Shalisha,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that this article resonated with you.

      I appreciate you sharing your expereinces with your team leaders, and I’m glad that this has helped you understand their behaviours a lot more. Please do share this article with your team leaders and my other articles. If you think I can help them then please let me know.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  7. Dear Tom,
    I have to tell you that I really like your text, you have so much correct, reasonable thinking about what a real leader should look like and how a team should function. I especially liked this for humility. A true leader, who has knowledge and is successful in his business is never arrogant. Such are only those who have to gain something on the “muscles”. During my short but very rich business experience (because I changed a lot of jobs), the leaders were mostly overbearing ignoramuses who kept the team in awe. They thought they were very successful and in fact they were so miserable, none of the employees sincerely respected them. The true leader whom everyone will love and respect even when one day he leaves the position is the one who is humble, responsible and unhypocritical. Thank you for reminding us of these wonderful values ​​with this text.
    Greetings, Danijela

    1. Hi Danijela,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad that you found this article valuable and helped you to think a bit more about leadership.

      I appreciate you sharing your expereinces with your business and with the leaders you have worked with in the past. Hopefully you can learn from me but also learn from the mistakes that your leaders made and what you have discussed in this comment.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  8. Hi there Tom
    The article is very interesting, I have been that person who doesn’t take responsibility for my actions and give up on a lot of my projects or just leave them 1/2 done.

    I think if I used some of the advice you have written it would make a big difference in the way I view my lifestyle and how I can improve. Thanks for the read.

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found this article interesting.

      I appreciate you sharing how you haven’t followed through on projects, that is very honest. I am so pleased that you think the advice in this article will be able to help you. I hope you do take action on what you are learning and if you need any further advice then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

    2. Hi Kevin,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found this article interesting.

      I appreciate you sharing how you haven’t followed through on projects, that is very honest. I am so pleased that you think the advice in this article will be able to help you. I hope you do take action on what you are learning and if you need any further advice then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  9. I agree. A good leader shows humility. I have seen many people who achieved the successes they set out to achieve and it went to their heads, turning them into arrogant and unfriendly people. A good leader keeps his (or her) feet on the ground and knows when to admit a mistake. I have come across few leaders like that. I find that sometimes after people get promoted to a managing position they tend to forget their origins, that once they used to be in our position and face the same challenges. I think that they should see this article (I know a few people like that)

    1. Hi Christine,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad that you agree with this article and that you found it valuable.

      You are right, humility is the difference between confidence and arrogance. As a leader it is so important that we don’t come across as arrogant to our people, as that will break trust and our influence will decrease.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  10. Hi, Tom!
    I have some experience managing people when I was implementing projects and being a project manager. I took responsibility for the mistakes and inefficient work of the project team, and I attributed the credit for the achievements and successful work to the entire team.
    Unfortunately, I have also worked in my life for many arrogant and complacent bosses, for whom the title was more important than the people and the content of the work.
    Great article. If only as many people as possible, who are in such positions where they lead people, would read it.
    Friendly greeting,
    Nina

    1. Hi Nina,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found the article valuable.

      I appreciate you sharing your expereinces in leading people and being a project manager. Taking responsibility is so important when it comes to making mistakes. When it comes to successes, it is our responsibility to give credit where it is due to the team.

      There will be people who read this article who will be able to relate to you, especially when working with arrogant leaders. I share this experience with you and it is not a nice experience. But, it is our responsibility to learn from the mistakes these leaders made and make sure we don’t behave in the same way towards our people.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  11. Hi Tom,

    love this. So many people could change their life if they could just take responsibility! Many people live life complaining and being a victim. Not good people to be around.

    I have a motto for 2021 – Take responsibility, find your meaning then take consistent and disciplined action! I think its a great motto to live by. Your article sums up life so beautifully and the importance of leaders being responsible.

    We need more of them in the world right now!

    Cheers man.

    kev

    1. Hi Kev,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you loved this article.

      I really appreciate that you have shared your 2021 motto with us because so many people will take inspiration from it. I hope when people read this article that they scroll down to your comment and learn from you just as much as they learn from me.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  12. Hi Tom
    You make many excellent points and. I particularly like how you explain essential differences between highly effective leaders who take responsibility and at the same time may have difficulties showing humility in contrast with ineffective leaders who shun responsibility but have no difficulty showing humility.
    I’m sure there would be another category of ineffective leaders who still avoid responsibility and yet somehow manage to be arrogant about it.
    It made me think of the first job I had after graduation. I was one of a large team of engineers. I think there were around 60 of us divided into two teams each working 12-hour shifts 7 days a fortnight. We also had some senior engineers who worked regular days. Because of the nature of the business – TV transmission – I distinctly remember if ever there was a really big day coming up, our top boss would always take annual leave. He always wanted one of his deputies to have their neck on the chopping block if things went wrong. It was a running joke among all of us. We respected him because of his position but I think we all felt a degree of contempt and I think he even knew it.
    I’d be interested to know, from your research, whether taking responsibility is more essential for a leader, rather than exhibiting humility. And does that correspond with your experience?
    Thanks
    Andy

    1. Hi Andy,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad that you found the article valuable.

      I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on ineffective leaders and how they shun responsibility because you are right. Taking responsibility for our people is one of the most important leadership principles that we must practice every day. If we don’t then we will not be able to increase our influence as best as possible, and our people will suffer because of it.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  13. Hey Tom, thanks for sharing another great piece of content. I think I’m a very responsible person. I rarely do something and turn away from it. whether the thing is good or bad. And even when I was working in the corporate world and was for a short time a leader of a small group of people, I actually enjoyed the responsibility and my co-workers and team saw that as well. I believe this helped to create a healthy environment and has increased our productivity as a team as well.

    In any case, I just wanted to share some thoughts and say thanks for an awesome article. Keep up doing a good job with your site!

    1. Hi Ivan,

      Thank you for your comment as always. I’m really pleased you found this a great piece of content, means a lot to me.

      After getting to know you virtually and seeing the work that you do, I know you are responsible person my friend. Enjoying the responsibility of leadership is how all highly effective leaders feel. The reason they feel like that is not because of the power they have, but because of the difference they can make in their people’s lives.

      Keep making those differences and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  14. Hi Tom,

    I have always tried to step up as a leader when I felt the position was right for me and you’ve listed great qualities that are needed for a responsible leader. Humility is a fantastic word and is often not talked about enough in the work place. Having humility doesn’t always come naturally to some members of the team but I like to lead by example. Currently, I am self employed, but previously, as the go-to manager at my last job, I constantly worked on humility with my team.

    It also can be hard on the leader to take the burden of responsibility all the time. If you’re managing a team, to some extent, you’re responsible for their actions and how to team performs as a whole. That responsibility is not for the weak of heart. I was a bit of a softy as manager, so it was a lesson learned for sure.

    Both tie into your influence on the team. If you show humility and responsibility, as well as other great leadership traits, you will have a positive influence on your team and within your workplace.

    As always, you have fantastic advice for those working with teams! Thanks for the good read 🙂

    1. Hi Haley,

      Thank you for your detailed comment. I’m so pleased that you found this article has fantastic advice, means a lot to me.

      I agree that humility is not discussed enough in the workplace. Not enough people know what humility is and why as a leader we must have humility. I appreciate you sharign your experiences as a leader as there will be many people who read this who will be able to relate to you. Hopefully they can learn from you as much as they do from me.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

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