Each of us has responsibilities, to ourselves, to our families, to our jobs, and so on. It’s one of those facts of adulthood. With freedom comes responsibility. The real question is how well we handle all of those responsibilities. We also have choices on what we take on as a responsibility. This is very true as leaders.
When we assume a leadership role we are being placed in a role with responsibilities. We are accountable for our team’s performance as well as our own. We become responsible for guiding, directing, and correcting the behavior of those around us. How much we take on ourselves will often determine how well we perform as a leader.
The challenge of being responsible for the performance of others is how much of their success or failure do we really own? When is their failure ours and when is it theirs? What is our responsibility as a leader for those who are on our team? Here are 6 questions to help determine when it’s your responsibility and when it’s not:
- Have you given clear direction, and checked for understanding, on what is required?
- Have you provided the training and coaching needed for success?
- Have you given feedback on their performance, including corrective ideas?
- Are you letting them act independently and not micro-managing?
- Are you available to them for support and guidance?
- Have you created an environment where people can innovate, act on ideas and questioning is welcomed?
If you answer yes to all of these questions then you are doing all that you can reasonably do to help your team succeed. Some team members will flourish and grow in this kind of environment. There will be some who aren’t well suited for the tasks at hand. It could be that they just don’t have the abilities or capacity to meet the demands of the position. They may not have the right attitude for the role they are in, or they may not want to grow in the direction needed.
When someone can’t or won’t gain the skills needed to do the job assigned and you as their leader has worked with them to help them get there it becomes your responsibility to help them move to the right position. This may mean leaving your organization or it may mean transferring to another area. Your responsibility is to the entire team and the organization so you have to make sure the right people are in place to accomplish your goals and mission.
Responsibility is part of our lives, at home and at work. When we take our responsibilities seriously and act on them with integrity and compassion we help our teams become the best they can be, together and individually. Remember while we as leaders are responsible for the team’s results each person is also responsible for their performance and their results. We must coach, train and guide them towards success but we have to let them succeed or fail on their own. If they can’t succeed in the given role we must be responsible to the team and make a change.
You have to pass on the responsibility for personal performance to each person on your team. Along with that you must share the responsibility for the overall team’s success with each member. Build trust and collaboration by passing the baton of responsibility to your team. Get them engaged in their individual and joint success. Everyone wins then.
Have you ever had issues related to passing responsibility to others? Share your experiences below in the comments.
If you would like help defining your responsibilities or learning to build your team’s abilities contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org