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Responsibility and response-ability

by Jacq Molloy

For any leader, responsibility is a big word. It covers everything from how you show up (and stay in good shape to lead) to strategy and response to accountability and how you handle the follow-ups and conversations that are required to keep your targets being met.

For the leader of an organisation that strives to integrate spiritual care throughout each aspect of aged care, just going through the actions and being a caretaker isn’t enough.

This leader embraces and displays 5 types of responsibility:

  1. Responsibility for you. Your energy, your focus, your choices, your decisions, your results, your reputation and where you are in your career, how long you choose to put up with a less than ideal situation, an uncomfortable working relationship, inconvenience — this is all your responsibility.
  2. Responsibility for what you know. No underselling or underplaying what you know to make someone else feel comfortable or, more likely, to stop you from feeling like you’re being ‘too big for your boots’. You are also responsible for what you know about others. In your position, you often know their vulnerabilities and that is a responsibility you hold to never ever use that against them.
  3. Responsibility for, or on behalf of, your team, department or organisation. This means the awareness, and understanding, of the strategy and the clarity of measures and scope and timing and accountability at every level. You have ultimate responsibility for how an initiative or strategy is going to play out.
  4. Responsibility of/for those around you. It’s your responsibility to create the culture and environment that makes clear the respectful boundaries, expectations and accountability and makes the results you want inevitable.
  5. Responsibility for the post-review process. How do you recognise and put in process the rewards and consequences when your people over- or under-perform? It’s your responsibility that whatever happens next is known and consistent. No surprises. And that means a willingness to have difficult conversations.

Prior to her work with Meaningful Ageing Australia, Jacq was a coach and consultant to corporate CEOs and senior execs and a keynote speaker on the subject of authentic leadership.