I still would like to write a book about vicarious responsibility   Leaders are responsible for the work of their followers and yet experience that work vicarious. That becomes evident to me again and again as I work with groups of people who believe they know what is going on in their team because of what the team members are reporting.  The problem is that the languages might be different or the messages are interpreted differently and so there is a break down in understanding between what the employee reports and what the leader hears.  Part of that is because we hear what we are listening for and part is because employees often adjust their message to met the expectations of the leader.

A great leader knows many languages – past, present and future – and can interpret the messages in a variety of ways always checking for understanding.  That is important when you have vicarious responsibility. Interviewing for understanding when you are vicarious responsible for the actions of your team members is vital.  The questions need to be focused and direct and asked in the right dialect to insure a true read of the situation.  then as a leader you are expected to filter and package that message for your own leaders … See what I mean… there is a book in there somewhere.