What Is The Single Phrase That Defines Great Leadership?

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I am responsible.

That single phrase reflects the fundamental distinction of a truly authentic, and effective leader.

It is a phrase that underscores the core attribute that defines what it means to be a leader. It reminds everyone that, regardless of the circumstances, leaders cannot duck, they cannot evade, they cannot side-step. They are responsible.

When things go wrong, the leader must say it.

I am responsible.

When the goal is not achieved, the leader must say it.

I am responsible.

When there are insufficient resources, the leader must say it.

I am responsible.

When the culture of the team is deteriorating, the leader must say it.

I am responsible.

In these, and countless other shortfalls, there is no where for the leader to hide.

They can’t point to the team. The leader must say it.

I am responsible.

They can’t point to changing market conditions. The leader must say it.

I am responsible.

They can’t point to a new competitor. The leader must say it.

I am responsible.

They can’t point to the economy. The leader must say it.

I am responsible.

This is not to say that such factors haven’t played a role, even a major role, in the shortcoming. But in acknowledging such dynamics, it doesn’t lessen or change the leader’s fundamental and unique position. The leader must say it.

I am responsible.

But in having embraced this responsibility, effective leaders are then on the launching pad to fix it.

The leader will rely on their team, they will lean heavily on the counsel of wise mentors and they will surround themselves with the resources needed to find a solution. But they will not outsource the solution to any other person or group. Because once again, the leader must say it.

I am responsible.

When a setback hits a team or organization, the difference between a turnaround and a straight descent into irrelevance begins and ends with the leader. And it focuses on one statement.

I am responsible.

As a leader, the weight of this shouldn’t be intimidating nor ponderous. It should thrill you and fill you with energy.

So when you face a set-back…and you will face set-backs…Don’t look around at anyone else. Don’t look around at any external circumstances.

Hold your head high, throw your shoulders back, and say it with full gusto.

I am responsible.

the author

Scott Cochrane

Vice President- International, Global Leadership Network. Love Jesus, Nora, Adam & Robin, Amy, Dave, Willow & Olive and John, Fiona & Will. Lifelong learner.

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