Your Responsibility

The owner of an organisation’s culture is the one sitting at the top of the organisation, even if they play no part in transforming that culture.

The leader at the top of your organisation (that may be the CEO or the Managing Director) needs to know the truth…they are the owner of your organisation’s culture. If they don’t yet realise that, then they are in for a wake-up call. A wake-up call that may surprise them.

1. Owning The Culture

If the leader of your organisation thinks what I am saying is wrong, and they don’t believe they own the culture then they are not currently a highly effective leader. They are a low performing leader now who constantly looks outwards and takes no responsibility for their people.

Highly effective leadership can and must be taught through my books and other materials, but it must be practiced more. If you have a highly effective leader at the top of an organisation, then their influence and example will filter down through the organisational ranks and create more highly effective leaders.

Taking responsibility is a very important trait of a highly effective leader, and they are responsible for communicating to their own people and others information that they should know about.

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Highly effective leaders are responsible for retrieving information that they should have or know about, and they must do this through asking, not waiting. If they don’t receive this information earlier, then they can’t blame anybody.

Highly effective leaders are responsible for asking the right questions, helping their people to think deeper and help them come to solutions to problems that will ultimately help them in making the right decisions.

2. Making Decisions

It is always best when a highly effective team makes decisions together, with the final say coming from the highly effective leader. The outcome of these decisions will always fall on the responsibility of the highly effective leader, whether the outcome is positive or negative.

I say that because the decisions made will not always be the right ones, things will go wrong, and mistakes will be made. When things do go wrong, the highly effective leader will always take responsibility and will never blame the team, even if it was the team who made the mistake.

There is never any finger pointing from the highly effective leader. It is not easy to take responsibility when things go wrong, but the highly effective leader will rise to it.

There are leaders around the world who won’t take any responsibility when things go wrong, or mistakes are made. They will finger point and blame members of their team, and when this happens, they are having a very negative effect on the team culture.

The morale of the team will drop and the trust that they had of their leader will drop. A leader who blames others and takes no responsibility is an arrogant leader and should not be in a leadership position.

3. Preventing Things Going Wrong

There are leaders who don’t have the strength or the self-belief to do their best to prevent things from going wrong, and they will just allow it. When this becomes obvious within the team, they will begin to distrust their leader and the culture within the team becomes negative.

An expectation of a highly effective leader is to do their best to prevent things going wrong. Even if they don’t prevent it, it is obvious that they tried their best. When this happens, they still build trust with their team and the highly effective leadership culture remains.

During a leader’s career they will have to deal with big issues, but they will deal with a lot more smaller issues. If they don’t have the strength or the self-belief to make the smaller issues right for their team, then how can they be relied upon to make the big issues right for their team.

If leaders are just allowing things to happen, especially when they have a negative effect on their team, then culture within the team will drop. This is the responsibility of the leader, and they need to know that every day, they are being observed by everybody.

So, when it is observed that they or another leader has negatively affected the culture of the team and the organisation because they haven’t prevented things going wrong, what do you think people are thinking?

They are thinking, “This leader doesn’t care, this leader isn’t listening, this leader needs to be replaced.”

It might be hard to believe but there are leaders throughout the world who don’t want good things to happen within their team, and the prevent any positive outcomes. I have worked with a few of them.

So, when a leader goes out of their way to prevent anything positive happening within their team, they start to distrust the leader. With this distrust, the morale of the team decreases and so does the culture. People throughout the organisation will notice this.

Highly effective leaders want to create a highly effective leadership culture within their team and throughout their organisation.

To do this they cannot be seen to prevent any positive outcomes within their own team, they cannot be seen to allow things to go wrong without doing their best to prevent it, and they cannot be seen to not care.

A highly effective leader must be seen to do their best to prevent things from going wrong, and if they can’t then they will not give up.

A highly effective leader must be seen to allow positive outcomes for their team. A highly effective leader must show their team that they care for them. This will build trust, grow the morale, and transform the culture they are trying to create.

4. Focus On The Right Things

All leaders need to know that they are being observed by everyone, especially by their senior leaders. Highly effective leaders know that they must focus on the right things and how they are performing when working on these right things.

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They are not interested in what they should be doing or what others think they should be doing. Their team and their people are who they focus on. Managers focus on things and what they should be doing rather than how they are performing.

Their people are not their focus. The difference between a manager and a leader is how much character they have. A manager will focus on competency 80% of the time and character 20% of the time. A leader will focus on character 80% of the time and competency 20% of the time.

Whether you spend 20% of your time on competency and 80% of your time on character is your personal choice. But to become a highly effective leader and to grow a highly effective team, you need to be spending your time in the right way.

You must be able to manage your time and so must your team. How much development have you had in the area of time management, and how much has your team had? How good are you at managing your time in the right way? Have you personally taught your team to manage their time in the right way?

If you want to create a highly effective leadership culture, then you need to communicate from the mind of a highly effective leader.

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.

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All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

8 thoughts on “Your Responsibility

  1. Great post highlighting the pivotal role of leaders in shaping an organization’s culture. The emphasis on leaders taking ownership, making decisions collaboratively, and being proactive in preventing issues resonates with the essence of effective leadership.

    The call to focus on the right things and invest time in developing time management skills adds a practical dimension to the leadership journey.

    Just wanted to ask: How have you observed the balance between character and competency in the leaders you’ve encountered, and in what ways has it influenced the organizational culture?

    Overall, a compelling read for leaders aspiring to foster a highly effective organizational culture. Will surely check out your book: “Influence is Leadership”.

    1. Hi Akshay,

      Thank you for your kind comment, means so much to me.

      Taking ownership is so important as a leader, and showing your people how to take ownership through leading by example.

      I hope you enjoy reading my book “Influence is Leadership”, and share what you learn with your people.

      All the best,

      Tom

  2. As in other areas of life, many people refuse to take responsibility for their decisions and actions. When seen within the organization of a business, large or small, it indicates a business entity lacking in leadership. It is tough to expand and grow when one refuses to look at and take responsibility for one’s failures and mistakes. This type of person does a disservice to its staff and clients/customers it is honored to serve.

    1. Hi Joseph,

      I appreciate the comment you have shared, means the world to me.

      You are absolutely right that far too many people refuse to take responsibility for their decisions and actions, especially in the business world.

      I know you are not one of those people, so continue to take responsibility and lead your people by example.

      All the best,

      Tom

  3. Thank you for this insightful blog post. I particularly resonated with the point about a leader’s role in influencing people to buy into their vision. It reminded me of the importance of not just having a vision, but also effectively communicating it to my team.

    I also appreciated the emphasis on believing in the team as people, not just for their abilities. This is a powerful reminder that leadership is about nurturing human potential.

    Lastly, the advice against ‘winging it’ is a valuable lesson for all leaders. It underscores the importance of knowledge and credibility in leadership. Looking forward to more such thought-provoking articles!

    Timotheus

    1. Hi Timotheus,

      Thank you for sharing your comment and kind words.

      I am so pleased that my article resonated with you and I hope you take action on what you have learned, and share that with your people.

      Keep believing in yourself and keep believing in your team.

      All the best,

      Tom

  4. I have had a leader like that in the past, he never took responsibility for the team and clearly showed that he favored some people’s opinions a lot more than others. This creates a terrible atmosphere, and could even make people who are insecure about their work even more insecure and not coming up with ideas or suggestions anymore are making them afraid to show any criticism towards the leader.
    I think a good team leader should accept any views from their team, and be able to discuss them well. Thanks for the insights!

    1. Hi Lizzy,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, means the world to me.

      The leader you describe who you worked with sounds very familiar, and I am very sure will be very familiar to a lot of other people who read this article and your comment.

      You are right, a good leader needs to treat all of their people equally and value the opinion/ideas of everyone. Then decide as a team what the best idea is, not be biased towards one or two people all the time.

      Thank you again for sharing and keep leading, and treating your people well.

      All the best,

      Tom

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