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 Gegelman is an adventurer that loves to learn. ...Deep conversations, books, travel, and daily living are all food for growth.

As a speaker, facilitator and workshop leader she creates energizing environments that reflect God's grace, tear down walls, help people to consider new perspectives, and inspire change.

Chery is the Founder of Giana Consulting and Conversation Safari's, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

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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!