Recently, while I was helping a client develop their leadership pipeline, the discussion turned to the idea of “self-engagement.” I think we’re all coming to realize that engagement is a two-way street. It’s not just what the organization brings to us but also what we bring to it. The takeaway of our dialogue was the idea of “a glad taking of responsibility.”

Responsibility: “the state of being answerable or accountable … a burden or obligation upon one who is responsible”

Answerable or accountable … burden or obligation. These are heavy concepts, and they can get heavier as you move up in the organization. So what separates the engaged leader from the seemingly disenfranchised – those modeling the desired value sets from those exhibiting what we know to be toxic behaviors? In my mind, the separation lies in one’s taking of the responsibility.

Glad: “happy, pleased, contented … showing pleasure or delight … cheerful, joyful, willing”

There seems to be a growing 21st-century dynamic of pride in negativity – a competition, even, over who has it the worst. Take a look at social media postings, or listen to any cafeteria table. Too many feel a need to tell just how rough they have it – at work, in traffic, at home. In a leadership role, this negativity affects not just your commitment and engagement, but that of all you come into contact with.

Let’s do something different – let’s make it a glad taking of responsibility. Be cheerful, joyful, willing:

  1. Be known for gratitude in your personal and professional life. Make it a daily habit to write and speak of your blessings – it can transform your life.
  2. Safeguard your psyche from negative messaging. Seriously reevaluate how you stay informed. Most media of any kind is intentionally negative, because tension sells! News will come find you … make sure you want to let it in.
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