Episode #21: Dysfunction of Lack of Responsibility

It goes without saying that being a leader demands a lot of responsibility. It’s a leader’s job to make decisions on vision, strategy, and how to achieve results. Leaders must also ensure resourcing, manage performance, and develop talent. Add to that, the authority that comes with a leadership role for leading people to achieve organizational results, holding people accountable to expectations, bestowing rewards, and delivering consequences.

While it may be a leader’s responsibility to perform these duties as a normal part of their roles, many leaders today remain passive or permissive by abdicating their authority to employees instead of leading their people. This failure to use their authority signifies that a leader is operating from the Child Leadership Persona. Understanding why leaders rely on this persona and how to recognize its symptoms play a key role in reclaiming leadership responsibility and authority.

In today’s episode, Anne & Heather explore the Dysfunction of Lack of Responsibility and share some of the ways leaders let themselves off the hook for taking responsibility for their employee’s performance. They’ll share real client stories that illustrate just how common it is to find this type of leadership behavior in organizations today. You’ll also get some practical tips that you can use if your leaders aren’t stepping up and taking responsibility because they are leading from the Child Leadership Persona, blaming, and making excuses for not achieving results.

If you want to know more about Anne & Heather’s work with dismantling dysfunctions in organizations and leadership behavior at Caliber Leadership Systems, check out:




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Are you dealing with an organizational dysfunction you need help with? Or do you have a story you would like to share on our show? Contact us at [email protected].



  • [01:42] Episode introduction and overview
  • [02:39] What is the Dysfunction of Lack of Responsibility?
  • [04:34] Abdication of responsibility by the Child Leadership Persona
  • [17:10] How the Child Leadership Persona pretends to be inclusive
  • [19:37] The Child Leadership Persona just wants to be liked
  • [23:43] Nothing is ever the fault of the Child Leadership Persona
  • [26:22] The Child Leadership Persona is plagued by indecision
  • [29:59] Episode gem & practical takeaway
  • [32:55] Episode wrap up



  • Many leaders abdicate their authority because they haven’t been trained or developed to lead. They have difficulty asserting their authority and managing the performance of their direct reports and team.
  • When leaders don’t take responsibility for giving clearly defined expectations and corrective feedback, employees don’t trust their leader to be direct and honest with them, creating an environment of mistrust.
  • The Child Leadership Persona has both a dominant and submissive aspect to it. As with children, this persona can be bossy (dominant and autocratic) and insist on things being done their way or they can be submissive (permissive) and go along because they are afraid of the extra responsibility.
  • When we lead from the Child Leadership Persona, we want others to like and approve of us and will prioritize being liked over being effective.
  • Are you ready to develop past the Child Leadership Persona and reclaim the leadership responsibility and authority that are necessary for thriving, successful teams and organizations? Check out the full episode to learn how you can get started today! 


"Deciding to compensate for poor performance instead of managing it is an act of self- disempowerment."
episode 18 quote tile 2 - "When acting from the Victim Leadership Persona, our power and sense of personal agency is taken away by seeing situations through a  lens of helplessness."
episode 18 quote tile 3 - "Self-disempowerment starts from within. Leaders need to recognize when they are keeping their self-esteem low."
episode 18 - quote tile 4 - "Leaders need to watch that they aren't being pulled into the position  of rescuer when interacting with employees."

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