How responsible are you with your responsibilities?

For this week’s message I am sharing a couple of items for you to consider to shed the mindset or habits that make success elusive. So much is discussed about what to do to be a great leader, I thought I’d have a little fun and share what not to do. So I took our three elements of influence (competence, character, and care) and added a couple of thoughts about the violations to them. Remember, we are all influencers.

“How responsible are you with your responsibilities” is the overriding question here. Regardless of your yesterday’s score, today always provides new situations to raise your score. The only language understood here is the language of action. 

Do you know what you are doing? “Wanna be” managers believe they need to have all of the answers. Skilled managers know they are not expected to know all of the answers. It’s the humility of not knowing that helps a skilled manager keep an open mind and, with it, the support of their team. This lines up with mutual respect very well. If you are not asking the right people for their perspective, your solutions will be weaker, your results will be poorer. A good clue to whether or not one is worth following is how they handle problem situations – do they hide from them? Seek out different perspectives on them? Do they communicate timely, with humility? A common weak way of handling problem situations is delaying communication to the wronged party, waiting until they have a better answer. For all of you non-math majors, the right response + the wrong time = the wrong answer. How many times does this need to blow up on you before you start communicating proactively and actively manage your difficult situations? If you think I am writing this for you, I probably am… 🙂 

Can I trust you? This can make or break our trust in someone very quickly. My brother Mike sent me a text last week that read “People who cover up their mistakes will also fail to ask for help to avoid the mistake. This is a bad combination.” It really got me thinking about what sets me off. I try to maintain my composure, but lack of forthrightness is one of those traits that eats at me. If I want to be responsible with my responsibilities, I need a team of people that are forthright with what is going on. Too many times I am forced to resolve problems because of someone’s lack of forthrightness. These are difficult pills to swallow, especially as my responsibilities have grown. I find my patience with this immaturity waning. If you put your pride ahead of the company’s well-being, you do not deserve authority.

Do you care about me? Leaders who blame others are really saying “I am not fit”. Not intentionally, of course, as they are usually defending what they are doing. The sad part is that their results are terrible, so why are you defending what you did? Saying and meaning “I am sorry” or “I embarrassed myself” or “I really screwed that up” shows us that people have internalized their failures and could grow from them. When these words are absent from your vernacular, chances are you are not taking responsibility for your shortcomings. This is a requirement of entry to be a manager. If you don’t possess the power of these words, you are not fit to lead. 

I hope these thoughts help you find more habits to shed and opportunities to seize.