The Motive Patrick Lencioni Part 4

Reward-centered leadership vs responsibility-centered leadership
Why is Responsibility-Centered Leadership essential?

“Responsibility-centered leadership: the belief that being a leader is a responsibility; therefore, the experience of leading should be difficult and challenging (though certainly not without elements of personal gratification).” (p135)

So, are you saying we should never be rewarded in leadership??

No…no of course not. Lencioni wouldn’t make that argument either. Continuing forward: “No leader is purely reward-centered or responsibility-centered. We all struggle at times, and we all rise up to do the right thing at times. But one of these two motives for leadership will be predominant…” (p135).

Yes, leaders, for their hard work, will earn higher wages. For their track record, they will receive company bonuses, because unlike a kitchen worker at McDonalds who drops freshly fried fries out onto the floor costing the restaurant a couple of dollars, if the CEO of McDonalds drops the ball, it could cost the company fortunes! This is not to say that the inherent value of a person is different (by no means). But the level of leadership over responsibility is different and the pay should be in accordance with that knowledge.

The responsibility is greater. The stress can be overwhelming. The burden is heavier. Not everyone has what it takes to become the CEO of a multi-billion-dollar company. Those who have the skills to be able to do so, get paid the rewards for their ability to be responsible. They are rewarded based on their ability to make hard decisions that no one else wants to make.

  • It is the leader’s responsibility to lay off employees in tough times.
  • It is the leader’s responsibility to hold people accountable for their lack-luster performance
  • It is even the leader’s responsibility to call out bad body odor if it becomes a distraction in the work place.

Leaders who are responsibility-centered wade into the filth, the mundane, the unpleasant and the uncomfortable in order to achieve the best results of who they are responsible over. These leaders don’t put reward first but understand rewards comes after doing the hard job they’ve signed up to do. In your life, if you are responsibility centered, you are looking for the greatest outcome for everyone, not just the enjoyment of the rewards for yourself.

A responsibility leader may look like:

  • A father who wakes up in the middle of the night to pick up his daughter from a house party because she has had too much to drink and has to have that difficult conversation about her alcohol consumption.
  • An employer who has to hold an employee accountable to showing up on time for work. And when they don’t lay down punitive measures and follow through.
  • Someone taking their own health seriously and laying rules for themselves of what they can and cannot eat to get their weight under control.

In each of these scenarios, the leader wades into difficult territory, knowing they may suffer backlash in the short term, while hopefully seeing results in the long term (sobriety, strong work ethic, healthy eating). Because these leaders are responsibility-centered, more people see the results of their actions rather than just their enjoyment/fulfillment level.

Parkland Community Church:
We Exist to Develop People Who Love Jesus and Serve Others.

William Con

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