Taking on the “R” as a Leader

I’ll admit it…I’m a technology nerd.  I enjoy reading about technology news on a daily basis.  Usually, the articles I read are about the latest and greatest gadgets, software updates, etc…  However, lately I’ve been seeing more and more news articles and blog postings about high level executives and developers slinging mud at their competitors. 

Last week, I read an article from Jean-Louis Gassée, a formal Apple executive, assaulting Steve Ballmer, the current CEO of Microsoft, for the recent shakeups at Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices division.  Whether Robbie Bach and J Allard chose to leave Microsoft, or whether they were let go, we may never know.  Jean-Louis went on to blame Steve Ballmer for various problems Microsoft has been facing since Ballmer took the reigns as CEO.

While I don’t entirely agree with his stance, he does mention one thing that makes sense: “Ballmer’s view of executive leadership doesn’t admit standing up and taking responsibility.”  While I doubt Steve Ballmer would agree with that statement, there’s a valuable lesson in this quote.  It’s one which we all know, yet we seem to never remember it on a regular basis. 

If those who report to us as are failing in their duties, it is not just their responsibility, but our own as their leaders, to help them succeed.  Letting our own direct reports fail is a reflection of our failures as leaders.

Think about this:  Are you the type of leader that simply punishes someone for their mistakes, or are you a leader that helps that person work through their issues with proper support and direction?  The leader that constantly punishes people will find that they may soon be “opening the third envelope,” as Jean-Louise mentions.  As for the leader that shares the responsibility with their direct reports, they will find that they’re surrounded with loyal, trusting, hard-working employees.

My own manager calls this “Taking on the “R,”” or in other words, the responsibility.  What will you do this week to take on the “R?” Let’s hear your comments!

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  • Comments (4)
    • Dee
    • June 11th, 2010

    Here! Here!

    • Celina
    • June 11th, 2010

    Responsability says it all by itself…
    Response ability… if you don´t take it is also your response inabilty…
    Thanks Kent! Learnt a lot always from you!
    KR
    Celina.

    • Abe
    • June 11th, 2010

    A leader who loves to use punishment as a means of correcting subordinates is not going to get the best out of himself and the people he/she works with. While fear may be a motivator in itself, its not sustainable and people don’t learn more because they’re afraid of being punished. Leaders who take responsibility for their subordinates shortcomings and take affirmative action are more likely to achieve sustainable success in Results and Relationships. How’s that for two more “R”s.

    ABE

    • Scott Span, MSOD
    • June 14th, 2010

    As an OD consultant who works in multiple arenas including leadership development, I couldn’t agree more. Accountability, trust, responsibility, and transparency are traits of successful leaders!

    More on my similar views of leadership that may interest you can be seen in my blog post:
    http://thetolerothinktank.blogspot.com/search/label/Leadership

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