Leadership means Ownership

I have a friend that is getting frustrated with her new boss.

The new boss has made several mistakes that are impacting his employees. However instead of admitting what he doesn’t know, and owning his mistakes he either blames someone else, or acts like he doesn’t care.

My friend could understand and overlook the mistakes, however, the lack of ownership is causing the entire team to question the integrity of their new leader and eroding their trust.

Her situation reminds me of a TED talk I watched a few years ago that makes a powerful point about what happens when we have the courage to take ownership and admit what we don’t know.

  • (To view that video – Please see the end of the post!)

Years ago I experienced my own frustration with titled leaders not taking ownership.

I was working for a company that hired a consultant to teach an Ownership Spirit Course to every employee at every level throughout the organization. The goal was to encourage everyone to think and to empower everyone to contribute, regardless of their title. (A brilliant idea!!!)

As time passed it became clear the executives in the organization were divided about this idea:

  • The rock stars supported it completely.  (Their teams were filled with energy and creativity and performed at an uncommon level.)
  • The pretenders nodded appropriately in the presence of others and then opposed this concept with every part of their being when their employees brought challenges and solutions forward.
  • The sloths expected front line employees to solve problems, but avoided involvement at all costs even when their positional power was needed to remove obstacles.

Fast forward to the beginning of my consulting career, I met with a CEO that was struggling with the idea that the executive team should be more accountable than the front line employees, supervisors, managers, and department heads…

I shared my ownership spirit experience with him and reminded him that the majority of the people in the organization will reflect the behavior of titled leaders. Because…


Your Turn!  iStock_000009905754XSmall

  • How about you?
  • Do you believe that people with bigger titles should be more accountable, equally accountable or less accountable?   Why?
  • How do you hold yourself accountable?

Image Credit:  iStock

Check out Peter Bregman’s TED Talk below:

President, Giana Consulting

Chery believes that:
• Anyone can be a leader.
• Everyone knows something that the rest of us don’t.
• We all need to leave our workplaces, communities, nation and world – better than we found them.

Those beliefs caused her to instigate change from every position she ever had and continually provided opportunities to lead system-wide change from the middle and the edge of organizations.

Her faith and my firm belief that leaders need to walk their talk were the reasons she agreed to move to a part of the world that she once feared. As an expat she embraced daily opportunities to meet and learn from people that represent the nations in our world.

Today Chery is The Founder of Giana Consulting, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

She leverages true leadership stories and expat experiences to inform, inspire and emphasize life skills that cause her clients to be more energized and productive.

THANK YOU for commenting and sharing!

YOU ARE INVITED: To add your comments and to share your professional, personal and faith-based stories. Diverse opinions, compassion, and inspiration are welcome! (I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.)

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2 thoughts on “Leadership means Ownership

  1. Great post, Chery!

    I loved the TED video about not knowing and how that is the true gift for a leader wanting to innovate or create.

    Your insights about leadership are so extraordinary and I love reading them!