The Responsibilities Of Leadership

August 16, 2013 — 28 Comments

We’ve all heard that leadership is influence. This quote from John Maxwell is great. There’s truth behind what’s being said. When we influence others, we are leading.

However, there’s also responsibility that comes along with leadership.

I believe we far too often overlook the responsibilities of leaders. Sure, we know what leaders are supposed to do.

Leaders are supposed to:

Guide your team

Influence others to action

Cast a vision

Share the message

Create teams

And more…

It’s great to know what we’re supposed to do as leaders. These actions give us a road map for leadership.

And yet leadership is so much deeper than tasks.

Leadership means taking on responsibility.

Responsibilities Of Leadership

As leaders we’ve got responsibilities to those we lead. We’re going to be held accountable for the actions we take and where we lead our followers.

It can be a scary proposition, especially to new leaders.

These responsibilities include:

Showing your team the right path: Not only are we to cast a vision for our followers, we need to be leading them in the right direction. If we’re leading our followers in the wrong direction, even great leadership won’t make up for the misdirection you’ve taken them.

Know that it’s your responsibility to do the best job in leading them in the right direction. You might not always do the right thing, but doing your best to decipher the correct path will go a long ways in being a responsible leader.

Finding a replacement leader: Your leadership is not forever. Your life is only so long. This means your leadership is finite and one day you’ll need to be replaced.

It’s your responsibility to discover new leaders and train them in a way that they can succeed when you’re gone. Don’t wait until it’s time for you to leave to build new leadership. Prepare for it before your leadership transition.

Correcting mistakes: The team you’re leading is guaranteed to make mistakes. Especially if you’re doing anything worth doing. This means there will be messes to clean up.

Don’t hesitate to step up and help with the messes your direction helped create. Jump in and start the cleanup job. Your team will not only thank you, they’ll see great leadership in action.

Uplifting those you’re leading: Lastly, we’ll look at uplifting your teammates. Great leaders know that there will be days when their teams are struggling, dealing with life issues, or are sick.

During these times, it’s your responsibility to encourage and uplift your team members.

Don’t hesitate to ask how things are going or what you could do to help them out. Also be willing to provide opportunities for growth.

Great leaders know there’s more to leadership than influence. Great leadership also means taking on a responsibility to care for and raise up a great team.

Don’t overlook your responsibilities. They’re what will leave a lasting impression on your team.

Question: What other responsibilities do you believe a leader has? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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  • Ellory Wells

    Joe, can you still lead if you don’t take responsibility? I don’t know that you can; great post!

    I think a leader must have the best interest of his team in mind, even when that team can’t see it. I think leaders also must let his team create those messes you mentioned. We all learn through trial and error. However, sometimes the leader needs to be there to point out the lesson and help the team work through the solution.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Thought provoking question you asked Ellory. I’ve stewed on it for a bit and think you might be able to. Think of the stars of reality shows. They’re leading others but are they taking responsibility for the damage they may be causing? I don’t think they are. What do you think?

      • Ellory Wells

        Well, honestly, I wonder if they’re “leading” or if they just have “followers.” Just because I’m in the line behind you at Best Buy doesn’t mean you’re leading me. I guess then we have the question, can you follow without a leader, and/or, can you lead without followers?

        I think this could easily become a philosophical conversation… if it hasn’t already.

        • Joe Lalonde

          It’s definitely something that could be discussed over and over again.

          If we take John Maxwell’s definition of leadership as having influence over others, then I think movie/tv stars, musicians, sports stars, etc… are leaders. Are they good? That’s the real question.

  • Justin Buck

    Great quote!: “Leadership is so much deeper than tasks.”

    To me, these responsibilities are completely interconnected but may be broken into the two essential functions: guidance and empowerment. For me, the most difficult responsibility is to choose a replacement. It’s so hard to give up the reins! But if we have fulfilled our other responsibilities, natural replacements are on the rise. Moses’s examples of leadership in Exodus and his training of Joshua are a constant inspiration to me when it comes to succession.

    • Joe Lalonde

      You ain’t kidding Justin! Being willing to step aside as you’re raising up the next leader can be very hard. It’s doesn’t seem to come naturally to us.

  • Christopher L. Scott

    Thanks for for sharing, Joseph. We often forget that with more leadership influence comes additional responsibilities. Good post.

    • Joe Lalonde

      My pleasure Christopher. What’s one thing you might add as a responsibility of a leader?

      • Christopher L. Scott

        Providing growth opportunities and experiences in a proactive way, not simply training when mistakes have been made.

        • Joe Lalonde

          Terrific addition Christopher. As leaders, we need to be aware of the opportunities to help our team grow.

  • Jon D Harrison

    Joe – I think leaders are responsible for growing themselves – to give more to my team, I need to gathering more to give.

    • Joe Lalonde

      This reminds me of the principle of filling your cup not to empty it but to have it overflow. Once it’s overflowing, the extra is going into the lives of those you’re leading and mentoring. Great addition Jon!

  • Jon Stolpe

    I think you hit the nail on the head with your list.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Woot! Thanks Jon. Anything you would add?

      • Jon Stolpe

        No, Joe. I really like your list.

  • Brandon R Allen

    Great list Joe, For me I would also add that we have a responsible to coach people “up” to help them get to their next step, whatever that may be.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Wonderful addition! We’ve got to be willing to raise up the next leaders that may or may not take our place. What’s one way you could help coach another person to step up?

  • Dan Black

    This is a good list Joe. Within each of these areas a leader must lead by example. Putting action to what they say. Great thoughts here!

    • Joe Lalonde

      Thanks Dan!

  • Charles Specht

    Joe, I appreciate this quote of yours:

    “As leaders we’ve got responsibilities to those we lead. We’re going to be held accountable for the actions we take and where we lead our followers.”

    This is so rare and so true, especially for Christian leaders. Thanks for the article.

    • Joe Lalonde

      My pleasure Charles. It’s sad we’ve gotten away from accepting responsibility as leaders. We’re showing others where to go, why shouldn’t we be held accountable?

  • Arlen Miller

    The second one is a powerful one: Finding a replacement leader.

    My former employer once said that the best leader will replace himself. Someone may pick this advice apart and misunderstand. I think a real leader will understand it… and be able to do it. Plus, a real leader wouldn’t feel threatened in the process. Thanks a bunch, Joe.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Your former employer knew his stuff then. He’s much wiser than most who are willing to hold onto their position far longer than they need to.

  • Engr Asad Wilson


    • Joe Lalonde

      Glad you enjoyed the post! What was your biggest takeaway?

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