The Strong Accept Responsibility
Being a leader is hard. We’re supposed to have a vision and develop a plan to reach that vision. We’re supposed to guide our employees to do their part to reach the vision and help them see how they fit into the plan. Often this means we have several initiatives happening at the same time in order to reach the strategic goals that are all a part of the big picture. So what happens when something doesn’t go as planned? How do strong leaders handle setbacks, seemingly poor performance, or failure? Sometimes too much time is spent on trying to assess blame rather than reflecting on our leadership.
Leaders can get caught up in judging others’ performance, intentions, or skills before looking at their own leadership. Sometimes leaders assume negative intentions or laziness are what is behind the lack of progress or failure to reach a goal. Weak leaders spend time talking about this as if the employee or team member set out to intentionally fail to reach the goal. Strong leaders do not spend time engaging in this behavior. Instead, strong leaders accept their responsibility in leading the team toward a successful outcome. Strong leaders examine their practice, assess where they may have miscommunicated, and determine what their employees need to be successful. They assume positive intentions and believe in their team members’ ability and skills. When the team struggles or fails to achieve the goal, strong leaders don’t give up, instead they ensure the team members have a voice. They seek and embrace feedback and input in order to reflect on their leadership and provide team members and employees with what they need to be successful. There’s no time to play the blame game if you accept responsibility for creating a roadmap that’s been built on thorough planning for the success of all who are involved. Strong leaders don’t leave things to chance. They don’t cut corners and make assumptions about what the employee knows or doesn’t know. They plan to develop, guide, and support their employees. Strong leaders ensure that the employee has the resources necessary to do the job well. They celebrate the small wins and champion the employee’s successes.
Good leaders work hard to hire the right people. Strong leaders work hard to hire the right people AND take responsibility for retaining them by ensuring they have everything they need to succeed.
Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. — Warren Bennis