In this third episode sharing some of the great leadership details from a webinar with Colonel Lane, we are focusing on the ideas of culture and responsibility.
Colonel Lane said that 90% of people look to their leader to know how to act, win, and lead. You know, we all “feel” that. Or at least, I have felt that as a leader. That responsibility of modeling the right behavior. I used to say that once you become a leader, it’s like being a politician. All eyes are always on you, so be sure you are showing them the right way to act, respond, and lead.
As a result of that, the next nugget that Lane shared was around culture. He talked about the fact that there is no way he could be responsible for the entire culture of the Marine Corps. He doesn’t have that level of influence. However, if you are the owner or CEO of your company, that is your responsibility and your level of influence. If you’re not, then recognize what Colonel Lane said regarding what piece of the culture he actually does own.
He stated that he is responsible for the culture within his chain of command or within his team. Having lived in the corporate world, I completely understand this piece. From having one unit, to 13 units, to 80 units, to 700 units of business, I was responsible for the culture within all of them during my time as their leader. That meant that I set the tone for how we would embody the culture. My team could have been known as a team that didn’t care about the culture, or they could have been known as being the epitome of the culture. The decision was mine. I chose the latter.
If you are in a leadership position for a company you do not own, realize you are still responsible for ensuring your team embodies the culture of your organization.
In addition to leading by example and establishing expectations around culture, Colonel Lane talked about delegation and responsibility. He said: you can delegate everything but responsibility. 🤯
I truly appreciated that statement. I love simple but true statements that immediately hit home. This is definitely one of them. When I hire anyone, my expectation is that they learn all of the functions their team executes. I don’t expect them to do the functions, but they have to know them, understand all of them, and be able to answer questions around them. They also have to attend all of the meetings and participate in the discussions. Once they do that, they can start delegating some of the work. But at the end of the day, the results are their responsibility. If the team delivers, if they don’t, if they halfway deliver, if they don’t deliver with quality, whatever the results are, the responsibility still falls on the leader I hired.
Many times people want to say, “Oh we’ll that wasn’t me, I sent Sally to that meeting.” Nope. That doesn’t work. Remember a recent episode where I talked about having my direct reports own their decisions and the results? That goes hand in hand with this idea Colonel Lane shared. We expect the people on our teams to do their jobs effectively and support the mission. That is what they are responsible for. No matter what functions they delegate along the way, the leader is still responsible for delivering the results and owning the misses.
These nuggets definitely made me think. I love a good conversation that challenges my perspective and this absolutely did. Did it for you? Are you asking yourself if you are embodying your culture? Are you being a leader someone can follow? Are you showing them how to act, win, and lead? Are you ensuring you and your leaders own what they are ultimately responsible for? Think about it.