How important is the power of taking responsibility? I mean responsibility for your own success. Responsibility for your own failure. Responsibility for the impact that you and your actions have on others. Responsibility for not being a jerk. Responsibility for not taking all of the accolades when they are there and dumping the doodoos on others when they are not.
It is an important question and one that I believe could change your life and the lives of those in your teams should they choose to take this path. In my sales motivation talks and seminars I speak a lot about taking responsibility because I believe that it forms the foundation blocks of success. If you cannot accept where you are and take responsibility for how you got yourself there then how can you get yourself somewhere else?
But a lot of people do not see it this way. Many people think that avoiding responsibility and finding someone or something else to blame is the key to success. I see this every day… salespeople who lose sales but who blame their clients, managers who do not lead but blame the motivation of their teams instead, business leaders who miss their targets but who blame the market / economy / fill your own answer in here.
But this is not just in sales. It seems endemic in society too. And in my opinion this is not good. We have all seen the politicians and public figures who refuse to see things the way they are and when finally forced to, who put all of their efforts into blaming someone else. The days of falling on your sword are most definitely over.
There is a TV show here in the UK (and many other countries) called The Apprentice. It is a “business” show where applicants compete to win the opportunity to work with Lord Alan Sugar. In each show a team leader is elected and they head up one of two opposing teams in a “business task”. At the end of the show, the losing team has to explain why they lost and the leader and two people elected by the leader have to argue why they should stay on the show and, ultimately, one of those three is sacked.
Anyway, on one show, a female team leader lost the task. She said to the camera that she thought she had done well and that, if she hadn’t, the fault was hers and hers alone. I was impressed and even more so when she could only half-heartedly point the finger at one of her team members and pretty much took it on the chin that she should get the boot. Lord Alan was not happy at all, implying that her inability to blame someone proved that she was out of control. And, you know, that sums it up. The whole programme is a metaphor for how many people live their lives…
Big yourself up, give yourself a big billing, call yourself leader, call the shots but then, when it all goes Pete Tong (wrong), find someone else to blame.
What happened to taking responsibility? What happened to learning from your mistakes? What happened to supporting your team? Is it any wonder that many people do not want to use their initiative? Without support, why would you? If you knew your leader would blame you when it all goes wrong, would you step up?