Recently on the Harvard Business Review, John Coleman posted an excellent article, Take Ownership of Your Actions by Taking Responsibility (help is not on the way) that addresses expectations on the part of executive leadership. I found this particularly interesting because I recently caught myself feeling this very thing being asked, “do you feel stalled on a project?” As I began to work through the current challenge (and snap out of the downer mood), it finally occurred me, “am I stalled because someone else needs to act?” It is this very point that Mr. Coleman addresses the decision at hand, to take responsibility for the deliverables ourselves since “no one is coming” to assist us. “It doesn’t always mean you have authority over a project. Nor does it mean that you shouldn’t involve others. But it does mean you own the obligation to take action and deliver results.”
In short, leadership requires those who take responsibility, and to do so with an inherently forward looking frame of mind. I personally believe the issue of problem solving on the part of leadership has much to do with how problems are viewed, then turned into challenges – see my article, Innovation: Begin by Thinking Different for one idea of how you might go about this and keep pressing forward.