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Leader Quality: Accepts Responsibility

meerkat2Research shows there are 11 key Leader Qualities with one having a sub-set of 8 characteristics. Of the 19 Leader Qualities, 7 of them are ‘Trust Factors’. These are listed again below, together with a fuller description for Trust Factor: Accepting Responsibility.The Trust Factor Leader Qualities are:

  1. Reliable & Consistent
  2. Accepts responsibility
  3. Discrete
  4. Walks the talk
  5. Authentic
  6. Supportive of individuals
  7. Interested in individuals.

Trust Factors are special because any lapse in these Leader Traits may lead to intractable relationship- and performance- issues for the leader, their team and those interacting with them.


Acceptance of responsibility is a paramount quality in leaders. When things go wrong, people need to know that the manager is taking initiative and backing up the team. Also, that if push comes to shove, that the responsibility will stop with them rather than be passed down. One false move can poison a colleague and that can pollute goodwill with long-term repercussions for the team.

Dick was a Financial VP. The business needed refinancing with a substantial investment of cash. His team went through about fifteen separate negotiations over three years. All failed, largely due to Dick’s inflexibility. He was not capable in the area of compromise. Hit-rates in such cases do vary widely, but chances were lost because of him. He never admitted his failings but was happy to pitch blame in every other direction. The impact internally was entirely negative. Involvement of team members in the support to negotiations became unenthusiastic. Morale worsened. Contrast this experience with another:

Jeremy was COO of a manufacturing operation in Europe with a history of over seventy years of development and production. The business was owned by a major group and it was obvious that within five years, the company would need to manufacture overseas. The group was reluctant to damage a historical operation. After a number of business proposals and meetings over several months, the decision was made to close the factory within eight months, manufacturing going to China. Jeremy had kept the whole work-force up to date, always being upbeat but not evading the fact that the whole business depended upon everyone meeting quality and production targets. It was the stature of the man that he carried his people with him to the brink and beyond. He informed everyone himself and tirelessly worked to assist and help staff find new jobs. I have no doubt at all that, if he calls on any one of his staff to work for him again, they will follow him.
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