So much of the work I do is helping leaders to get what they want – for their people to take ownership and personal responsibility for their work, behaviours and output. All too often I need to take it right back to the top.
Where are they taking personal responsibility, or even giving it.
Personal responsibility is part of our character and our attitudes towards it goes right back to the lessons we learned as a child. I was taught to take responsibility for results I was getting in my life. Sometimes as a child I just wanted my parents to give me a break, but now I realise that they were building my character. If I forgot my PE kit, they wouldn’t drop it off at school, they made me suffer the consequences of wearing kit from lost property. When I fell out with a friend, they asked me what my part was in the fall out.
I often wished they would just take my side, give me some sympathy or even save me sometimes, but now I know that wouldn’t have served me as an adult.
And just as parents shape our lives, leaders must assume that responsibility in their businesses. How can you expect others to take personal responsibility if you make all of the decisions, or find all of the solutions. When people make mistakes, do you blame them, or allow them to blame others, or do you help them to understand their part in the problem and help them become part of the solution?
It’s time for leaders to start taking personal responsibility for the behaviours and cultures they are creating, and to see how they maybe helping or hindering their own frustrations.