Taking responsibility is a major reason for promotion

Peter* stepped up and took responsibility when his boss abruptly left under a cloud. The leadership team had lost focus. The business was not performing well and staff morale was at an all-time low. Everyone was waiting for someone else to do something. Peter took on being ‘the one’ to challenge the leadership team to turn things around during the hiatus period while the organisation searched for a new GM.

It was his personal decision to step up. People responded well to his leadership and got back into action instead of standing around observing the train wreck happening around them. Peter worked with his boss to enable him to exit with dignity. He handled the arrival of a new GM with integrity.

The board and CEO appreciated his willingness to take leadership responsibility during this difficult time. What people didn’t see was that Peter had to give up his view that he did not have what it takes to provide much-needed leadership during this transition. It also meant he needed to surrender his concern that his peers would think that he was getting too big for his boots.

Giving things up is an aspect of leadership that is rarely talked about. We are bombarded with lists of leadership skills or tools to add to our kit bag to be more effective. There is nothing wrong with adding to our repertoire. But what are the things we need to give up?

You know, like the insidious little voice of self-doubt that keeps us playing a safe, small game.

The payoff for taking responsibility is it makes you more likely to be promoted.

Jack Zenger CEO of Zenger/Folkman, says research shows “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 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.

But to take on greater responsibility, you may need to give up your limiting points of view about yourself and others.

🙋 How do leaders encourage others to take responsibility in your experience? 🙋

Best regards, Brian

*not his real name