Seven Definitions For Leaders – Two.
Let’s define responsibility as a double obligation: obligation to do the job assigned you; obligation to the one who gave you the assignment. You are willing to take responsibility because of certain rewards in the offing. And you are aware of the risks if you fail. The good leader always specifies, therefore, the limits of the responsibility he assigns. He also delegates enough authority to equal the responsibility—to see it through. That way he gives you a freedom of action, a sense of security that you couldn’t have otherwise.
Some meet the obligation of the assignment well enough. But they forget the obligation to the one who makes the assignment. Here is where loyalty comes in. For example, a young woman of excellent abilities caused a lot of unpleasantness when she jumped over the head of the president of her sorority chapter—the one who gave the assignment—to take her results to the national president of the sorority. She lost face with her own president and sorority sisters; and deferred her chances for assignment to further responsibility.
~ James F. Bender, The Technique of Executive Leadership (1950)