Leadership Habit 49: Give or Take Responsibility

  • -
Take responsibility

Leadership Habit 49: Give or Take Responsibility

Tags : 

A common leadership and supervisory practice is to assign responsibility. One of the problem areas for many people in a supervisory or management role is holding others accountable. In your role, whether supervisory or not, do you give, or take responsibility?

In the earliest years of my career, I can remember telling my boss at the time that I craved responsibility. Looking back, what I probably really meant is that I wanted to be in control. It is funny how we mature and grow. I smile thinking about that time in my life.

Oversight and Metrics

Assigning responsibility and holding yourself and team members accountable are an important part of leadership. Some organizations and cultural philosophies are loose and don’t have many metrics or measurements. Others live, breathe, or die, by extensive oversight through measurements.

Metrics and measurements are important, but we may pause and ask, “For whom?” The best answer may be, “For everyone.” The reality of how this shakes out in organizational psychology may position things a little differently.

You can certainly give or assign responsibility. Many in the workforce wait patiently to be provided with the next task. When they aren’t provided, they aren’t productive. Often they will just wait.

These people only follow. This isn’t necessarily bad, it may be about style, respect, or in some cases a lack of motivation.

Successful organizations today probably need more leaders. That isn’t the same as more chiefs, but more people with high initiative and who jump in and get things started and finished.

Take Responsibility

There is a different story about responsibility though. Responsibility often isn’t about giving. Responsibility may be more about taking.

When someone is nervous or afraid of the big task in front of them, we may say, “You’ve got this!” Of course, the desirable affect is to inspire confidence and commitment to the task in front of them. This often works, but it is much different from them saying, “I’ve got this!”

In the workplace, or in life, people can give responsibility. However, success is much more likely when people take it.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Search This Website

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Blog (Filter) Categories

Follow me on Twitter

Assessment Services and Tools

Strategic, Competency, or Needs Assessments, DiSC Assessments, 360 Feedback, and more. Learn more