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Someone who has accepted the challenge to live life as a leader (in any capacity), has already taken ownership. Whether you adopt the mindset of being the owner of your life, the owner of a business, or the owner of your decisions and actions within a more traditional corporate setting – this is a characteristic of leadership. Some people make the key distinction that leadership means achieving results through others, after all how can a person lead if no one is following?  Whereas an owner of a project or business could be viewed as the person who does the work (especially a sole proprietor) versus the person who leads others who are doing the actual work. Here is how I like to break this down: a leader has followers (or employees, if we’re talking about someone in a management position within a company); however leadership is a mindset, viewpoint, or value. A leader is a position to be achieved, and leadership is the method, process or approach a person takes to becoming a leader.  So, an owner of a business, the owner of a project, or the owner of a group or team of people is a leader when influencing others and an individual contributor when doing work herself. However, regardless of whether or not someone is currently leading others, she can still grow and develop leadership skills – including taking ownership or responsibility for results.

When leading others, the leader is the keeper of the process, the owner of the outcome, the person who accepts ultimate responsibility for results even when others contribute the work and efforts to achieve the objectives or goals.  However, accepting responsibility does not mean taking credit for the work of others.  A leader always acknowledges the hard work of everyone who contributes to the results.  Accepting responsibility means recognizing that any decisions or actions taken by the leader that positively affect the outcomes are done in order to support and assist the team or group of followers in their work. Similarly, decisions or actions taken by the leader that negatively affect the outcomes must be owned by the leader and used to grow, develop, problem solve and help the team or group of followers achieve more and better results in the future.

When it comes to individuals taking ownership for their own life in a very intentional and meaningful way, using a leadership mindset (even when not leading others) paves the way for becoming the type of person you want to be, contributing positively to those around you, plus accepting or owning up to mistakes and being responsible to yourself to learn from mistakes so you can grow and continue your leadership journey.