“Taking Responsibility” – what does that mean?

Every now and then you hear about the word “responsibility”. Most people complain that most others don’t seem to “take responsibility” for their actions. But sadly no one looks at themselves and more importantly no one really understands what that phrase means! It bothers me a lot more when I hear entrepreneurs talk about others not taking responsibility. What exactly does “taking responsibility” mean?

What do people mean when they use the phrase? In most of the cases where I get to hear people say the above phrase, they mean “should not have been done or should not have been missed”. Almost always this happens in hindsight. He should have been more careful or she should have taken greater care while planning for it! Whenever you catch yourself saying such statements, remember: you are just complaining. There is no corrective action or suggestion for improvement to that person. Most of these conversations end up becoming heated debates or arguments, with both the parties irritated and agitated.

What should the phrase actually mean? It should mean that we will be more mindful of what we are taking on as jobs. It should mean we should treat the activity we take on as though it is critical. It should mean that we will lose something personally if we don’t get it done right. It should mean that for someone what I am getting done is really critical. Hence if we come across people not doing their jobs with care, we must remind them that they could be in the receiving end. It is important that people understand the collaborative nature of the working world. “Taking Responsibility” hence when used by anyone means “I will get this done as promised or will keep you appropriately informed in case of any changes in plan well in advance.” And very important is to note that if I want to do this like I do it for myself, I must take care of two things:

  • Avoid multitasking while carrying out tasks of responsibility
  • Avoid potential distractions while carrying out tasks of responsibility
  • Avoid assuming anything about the activity itself

Think about it!


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