The successful leader must be willing to assume responsibility for the mistakes and the shortcomings of his followers. If he tries to shift this responsibility, he will not remain the leader. If one of his followers makes a mistake, and shows himself incompetent, the leader must consider that it is he who failed.“ – Napoleon Hill, Think and grow rich

N. Hill’s Think and grow rich has been -and still is – a great lunch break companion for me. Among the major attributes of leadership, he includes „the willingness to assume full leadership“, as stated in the initial quote.

Responsibility in organizations is often seen as a burden, a risk, the price one has to pay while enjoying power and career. Often when facing difficult times many people look around for someone willing to take decisions and actions, so all is slowed down or even stopped. Lack of responsibility in organizations leads to ineffectiveness, confusion, inaction, waste of time and resources. Needless to say, it also leads to money losses and in worse cases, to major restructuring.

The word responsibility stems from the Latin word respondere, which means the ability to respond. It is not a sudden reaction to a stimulus, but an attitude to respond with awareness, to take part in a given situation.

Leaders play a highly important role in corporations, as they have been chosen to guide others. In my professional life, I saw examples of poor and excellent leadership. What did great leaders do? They were present in good and bad times, they always showed up and spoke for their teams. They gave directions, suggestions for improvement and most important of all, they walked the talk.

Responsibility, in my point of view, is something to long for. If one is responsible it means one is in charge and can shape the present and future with words and deeds. It is a gift not to be wasted, being an activator of change, which carries the seeds of possibility, engagement, empowerment, and creation.

The question I ask myself when I wish for something to happen is: „If you don`t own it, who is going own it for you?“

What powerful questions do you ask yourself to raise awareness on personal and collective responsibility?