Leadership is a lot of things. It is a role. It likely represents career progress. It can be lonely. And last week, I explained why it is an opportunity. It is also hard to escape the fact that leadership is a responsibility too. But far from scolding or reminding you about some grave facts, I want us to think about our leadership responsibilities in a broader, more inclusive way. When you are finished reading you will be reminded, yes, but also refueled and reinvigorated to be a leader.

The Responsibility to Care
During our conversation during Virtual LeaderCon , Gordon Tredgold said that leaders have a “duty to care.” While you may not have thought about it I that way, it makes perfect sense. People work better, safer, and more productively when they know they are cared for at work. If your people are your number one resource (and they are), taking care of them is a significant leadership responsibility.

The Responsibility to Move
Leadership isn’t static. In fact, the status quo requires no leadership. A leader’s responsibility is to set, know, and understand the vision and direction for the team. With a clear picture of that desired future, it is the responsibility of the leader to put the team in motion in pursuit of those goals. Anything else isn’t leadership at all.

The Responsibility to Share
It is a leadership responsibility to share with people what they need in order to succeed. The list of what people need is long – not because they are “needy” but because with their needs met, they can be more productive and successful. You can make the list in your situation, but it clearly includes information, resources, tools, context, ownership, and trust.

The Responsibility to Serve
Leadership is a role of service – to the outcomes you are trying to reach, to the team that is helping you reach them, and to other stakeholders as well. While self esteem and confidence are important, there is no room for an unhealthy ego if you want to lead at the highest levels. Only when a leader properly recognizes their role as one of service can they make the biggest positive difference.

The Responsibility to Create Opportunities
My first two bosses out of college both told me that it was their job to prepare me to take their job. Those two excellent leaders set my career on a good trajectory, and it is easy to see why. No leader will be in place forever. The best leaders realize their responsibility to nurture, grow and prepare people for their future success – even if it means “working themselves out of a job.”

Leadership is a responsibility, but not just to carry out the specifics of the job description. When you see your leadership role in these ways, you will take your solemn responsibility more seriously and have a clearer picture of what your role really is.

Kevin Eikenberry, Chief Potential Officer, The Kevin Eikenberry Group

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