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How Being Less Responsible Can Grow Responsibility in Others


Could your strong sense of responsibility increase your team’s irresponsibility?

If you’re a leader, I suspect you possess a strong sense of responsibility. Taking on a leadership role or receiving a leadership promotion would only be possible if you were persistently responsible.

I love working with people with a high sense of responsibility. Responsible people see problems as opportunities, push for solutions, and own setbacks without making excuses.

The higher up an organization you look, the more responsibility you typically find.

So, if taking responsibility is an element of successful leadership, giving responsibility is a leadership development opportunity.

Ironically, What I Often See Are Overly Responsible Leaders.

Because leaders are typically very responsible, they tend to act responsibly. When a problem needs to be solved, a decision needs to be made, or a system needs to be implemented, the responsible leader jumps right in. It’s just natural.

But consider this: If you always step in to take care of problems, your team will let you. Worse, they’ll eventually expect you to take on all the responsibility. I hate to say it, but you can be too responsible. That sounds like an oxymoron, but I see it all the time. If you take on all the responsibility, your team won’t fight you for it, and you will grow increasingly frustrated with your staff.

Specifically, if you constantly hog all the responsibility, you will:

  1. Become frustrated by what you perceive as staff laziness.
  2. Stagnate the leadership development of your staff.
  3. Lose your best leaders.

It may be time for you to be more responsible with how you take responsibility.

Managing your sense of responsibility is a classic tension to manage.

Here are 4 strategies to spread the burden of responsibility.

1. Delegate More Than You Do.

I’ve written several posts on delegation systems, so I will keep this short.

Please read the posts linked above if you need help with effective delegation. As you do, consider how much you’re currently delegating versus doing. No leader is skilled enough to be the best at everything. However, the people on your team have diverse skill sets that can and should be utilized responsibly.