These two words are engraved into the bronzed desk plate I have in my office at Simon Says Lead. These two words strung together into one tiny phrase have made a huge impact over the years in the way I view leadership. The original idea to showcase this phrase was inspired by Rudy Giuliani after I read of this tactic in one of his leadership books.
With this phrase visible, I’m reminded on a daily basis that along with the title of “leader” comes the responsibility for not just the tactical decisions but a leader also has to step-up and be accountable for the outcomes and results of those decisions.
When we become a leader, we must take the responsibility of learning and understanding what our own leadership looks like so we can effectively lead others. Leaders aren’t born — they are developed and nurtured. One way to enhance our leadership growth is to find mentors that hold us accountable as we begin to fulfill our leadership role. Through mentoring, we can learn and practice self-awareness and risk-taking along with the behaviors of humility, authenticity, and honesty — especially when we make mistakes. I firmly believe that one of the most important relationships we can cultivate as we move into a leadership role is having trusted advisors who then become the coaches who guide us through our leadership growth.
Surrounding ourselves with the right mentors means we will be challenged as they ask why we want to be a leader of others. Our mentors will help ensure that a leadership role is the right fit and help determine whether we have the dedication and commitment to develop others. Another resource mentors provide is to find ways for us to exercise leadership skills and capacity both inside and outside of the companies for whom we work.
Additionally, mentors can help seasoned leaders by looking objectively at situations where we aren’t experiencing the leadership impact we desire. When we have employee turnover, poor results, or discontent amongst team members, our mentors can help us navigate these waters and help us understand how we can improve the situation. Our mentors become such an important part of our leadership journey, I dare to say they and their feedback become the secret sauce to growth.
In sum, each day when I look at the two words “I’m Responsible” beaming up at me from my desk, I’m reminded to keep moving along my leadership continuum. “I’m Responsible” means not only being responsible for my daily leadership decisions but also means surrounding myself with mentors who help me to become my best possible version of a leader.