One thought about Responsible Leadership #8 – Patrick Sonnenschein

Patrick Sonnenschein

Patrick Sonnenschein

Former Managing Director at WBD

Hi, I am Patrick. You might not know me in person but eventually, you have seen one of my Instagram posts. I have created our series about the characteristics of responsible leadership. So in the past weeks, I had the opportunity to learn more about what defines responsible leadership. 

While doing my research for the recent posts I have come across many characteristics that responsible leaders should have and how they should act in order to lead their followers in the right direction. I’ve found that I could write a whole book about each trait that is important for a responsible leader.  Now the series has come to an end but I still have the feeling that not anything has been said. This is why I decided to give you a more detailed point of view about what in my opinion three important characteristics are that define responsible leadership. Before I start talking about the characteristics I would like to jump to a slightly different topic. The question I would like to discuss is: “Who is a leader?” I stick with the definition from Lolly Daskal that everybody is a leader because everybody has to lead themselves. But to avoid misunderstandings I would like to mention that the characteristics I talk about now are addressed to leaders whose decisions have an impact on others and do not only lead themselves. 

After that is clarified I would like to start now with the characteristics. What are the characteristics of a responsible leader? I think that everybody has a few traits in mind that are important to him or her, maybe based on personal experiences. But there are too many characteristics that define a responsible leader to cover them all in a single blog post. Therefore I want to have a particular look at the three aspects most important to me.

  1. Leading by example
  2. Being respectful 
  3. Being open-minded


1. Leading by example:

Let’s talk about why leading by example is so important. The majority of your followers are likely to have the same attitude as you and therefore it is obvious that they might copy your positive and negative behaviours. This is why you should make sure to be for example loyal, disciplined, respectful, and open-minded which leads me to the other characteristics I would like to talk about.

2. Being respectful:

Respectful behavior is indispensable when it comes to the sustainability of your leadership. What do I mean by that? Imagine someone in your company made a mistake and you are now in the position to correct him. How do you tell the person? By separating the person’s character from the mistake that he or she made, you make sure that you tell them respectfully. Mistakes will always be part of the process but after they have been made it is important to keep going and don’t be resentful. Respectful behaviour is necessary if your goal is to build relationships that last.

3. Being open-minded: 

Especially in today’s fast-changing world, it is important to adapt to the new challenges that we face. This might be a new collaboration with business partners, new co-workers, or a different work environment. Changes don’t have to be big to have an impact on your day to day life. Having an open-minded personality is not just necessary – it is inevitable. 

I think everybody has experienced a situation in which you have been totally obsessed with an idea and then someone comes up and tries to give you well-meaning advice but you have been so convinced that you don’t react to anybody’s criticism. 

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