How to be seen as a leader; accept responsibility

Peter’s CEO lost the plot, and the board had moved to replace him. Peter and the rest of the leadership team also lost their focus. Staff morale hit rock bottom and the performance of the business was suffering. Everyone waited for someone else to do something. Peter stepped up and challenged the leadership team to turn things around while they searched for a new CEO.

He took a personal decision to lead without any formal authority. People responded well to his leadership though and got back into action instead of observing the train wreck around them. Peter worked with his boss to enable him to exit in a dignified way.  

What people did not see was that Peter had to give up his view that he did not have what it takes to provide much-needed leadership during the crisis. He also gave up his opinions about other leaders not responding well. But the biggest challenge he faced was to surrender his concern about what his peers would think of him; they might say he was getting too big for his boots by taking responsibility for leading the business.

Peter handed over to the new CEO and set him up for success. The board recognised him for taking responsibility during this tough period and promoted him to a more senior role.

Jack Zenger CEO of Zenger/Folkman, a leadership development firm, submits that “a person’s demonstrated willingness to behave responsibly…” is one of the major reasons why one person is selected for a promotion while others with equal skills, education and experience get passed over. He argues that it is not so much about the position the individual occupies as it is about their attitude toward responsibility. It is an attitude that places the goals of the organisation higher than individual or even team goals.

🙋 What examples have you seen of people taking responsibility regardless of their title? 🙋‍♀️

Best regards, Brian