On Steve Keating’s (CME, CSE) blog LeadToday, an article titled, “A Leader’s Responsibility,” discusses the role a leader plays in success, and isn’t afraid to tell you what you don’t want to hear. Employers often complain that some of their employees are idiots. This thought process is a major problem in leadership and signifies a lack of leader responsibility. The article states, “The first problem of course is thinking that one of your people is an idiot. Once one of your people knows your low opinion of them they are unlikely to exceed your low expectations. Never ask or expect less from your people than you need or want them to deliver.” Once an employee feels as if he/she is viewed as incompetent, motivation to grow in the position plummets. If you have an employee you’ve hired who isn’t living up to expectations, the article posits that there are only two paths that lead you to this position. You won’t like either of them. “The first one is that you simply hired the wrong person.” Plain and simple. The person does not have the qualifications or experience to make them successful in the job. “The second possibility is that you did hire the right person but you’re not giving them the tools they need to succeed. You, as a leader may not be teaching them the additional skills required to truly excel.” This means that you are the employee’s leader and if he/she is failing, it is your obligation to take responsibility for providing subpar accommodations for success. “When you accept 100% responsibility for the success of your people you begin to grow as a leader.” You may now be calling to mind hundreds of excuses as to why a leader couldn’t possibly be 100% to blame for an employee’s poor performance. There is no rationing or compromising of responsibility. “Don’t tell yourself that you’ll accept 50% of the responsibility but ‘they’ have to give 50% too. I’ll guarantee you that it’s not a 50-50 proposition because your people will not succeed with you, their leader, giving a 50% effort in helping them develop and succeed. The fact is, when it’s a 100-100 proposition then your people have a great chance at success.” Cultivating employee performance is dependent on responsible leadership that recognizes the strengths of the people to provide them with the tools for success. “Leaders can make excuses or they can make more leaders.” Be responsible, give your employees a fighting chance, and make more leaders.
Author: Dana Millio