16 Examples of Taking Ownership

Examples of taking ownership at work

You can only be a good employee if you take ownership of your role in the team. Even when working with others, you need to care about their results, just like yours. You should help the team achieve the desired results.

What is taking ownership?

Taking ownership is accepting responsibility for your actions and ownership of outcomes. You take accountability for your ideas, tasks, decisions, objectives, and choices, especially at work.

It is a commitment you make to follow through with something. The key is doing an activity with complete personal responsibility rather than as a favor or duty.  

Not taking ownership at work means avoiding responsibility and accountability for what you do or in situations where you could help colleagues but choose not to, even when you know how. It is like being on a team but not cooperating, leaving colleagues without your crucial support at critical moments.

Good examples of not taking ownership at work include avoiding a challenging task claiming “it is not within my job scope,” quickly blaming others for a problem without understanding the root causes or underlying issues, or making excuses instead of admitting personal shortcomings.

How do you take ownership at work?

You can assume responsibility in a leadership role, or you could be the one who takes the initiative and starts acting like a leader without being told.

If you are looking for some ways to take ownership in your workplace, here are 16 notable examples of taking ownership at work:

1. Taking responsibility for your actions

Actions speak louder than words and are even more vital in the workplace. If things go wrong and someone needs to be held accountable, don’t blame others for saying they told you to do it.

Own up to your mistakes with no excuses — this will help others become accountable for their actions moving forward.

2. Looking for a challenge

Seeking a new assignment to feel challenged and fulfilled is a great way to stay motivated in any work environment. So, you take ownership of your work and seek out projects that make you passionate about the new challenge.

When you seek out new opportunities, it shows that you are interested in advancing your career.

Read also: 11 Good Examples of Showing Initiative at Work

3. Testing your skills and abilities

You may have great ideas like many people, but nothing will happen if you don’t act on them. Without thinking of new ways to improve something, there will not be any progress.

People who take ownership always try to improve things, even if it puts them at risk.  They are willing to face the consequences of their actions head-on without fear of being judged.  

If you have a good idea, say it and see what happens or go out on your own if need be. Making suggestions that stretch beyond your job role is a great way to take ownership.

4. Reacting promptly to problems 

You don’t procrastinate when there is a problem. When you encounter a challenge and act immediately, it demonstrates your sense of ownership. It also shows you care about resolving issues and are willing to do what it takes to solve the problem.

5. Overdelivering on expectations

Over-delivering on expectations is when you do more than what your boss or employer asks or demands from you. You deliver more results than they expect and do it without asking for anything in return.

Instead of complaining about extra work or a heavy workload, you rise to the occasion and come through with exceptional results. So, when you do more than expected, it shows a sense of ownership.

6. Initiating change

Initiating change is taking the initiative to generate new ideas and make improvements. You realize there is always room for improvement.

So, you bring a fresh perspective on old issues and find unique solutions even when challenging the status quo or going against other people’s opinions.

Like everywhere else, initiating change in the workplace is no easy task, but it is necessary to stay competitive.

People who instigate change put themselves in the line of fire. They take heat from other people because they are brave enough to stand up and say that something needs to change for the better.

Read more: 24 Examples of a Good Manager

7. Doing your job with passion

Do not just act like you are interested in what you do actually, be interested in it. Show that the job matters, and put your best foot forward. Look for new ways to improve how you do things and never stop learning.

If you do not like what you are doing, there is no point in continuing with it — but if you enjoy it, taking ownership should come more naturally to you.

8. Highlighting your mistakes publicly

People respect a person who accepts their mistakes rather than trying to make excuses or blame others. If you make an error, own it and explain how you will fix it. It is a way of showing that you take responsibility for your work and any mistakes made.

9. Speaking on behalf of others

Volunteering to serve as a spokesperson on an important issue for more people to become aware of is another way to take ownership.

Making an effort to talk for others on a topic you care about is a great way to show your dedication and compassion for something outside of yourself. It is a way of taking ownership of anything important to you and acting on it.

10. Experimenting with new capabilities

Good examples of taking ownership include experimenting with new capabilities or approaches that stretch you as an employee. People who take ownership strive for excellence and want to do better than what’s expected of them, no matter how high the bar is set.

Stretching yourself by trying new things outside your comfort zone can make you a more well-rounded professional with varied skill sets.

Read also: 8 Examples of What to Tell Your Manager to Improve On

11. Checking on your manager or coworkers

You check in with your manager or team members to ensure that everything is going well. If there is a need to help, you are the first to show your willingness to take on additional tasks.

You care about your work and want to ensure others are doing well — which means staying in contact with them frequently throughout your day.

12. Setting yourself career development goals

Setting yourself career development goals is one of the first steps to take ownership in your job role. Ask yourself what you want from this job and how that aligns with achieving company goals.

For example, if you are looking for a promotion or raise within six months, outline specific actions that will lead to these results by taking small, manageable steps forward.

You can also set goals for yourself that will help you develop new skills and expand your horizons.

13. Soliciting feedback from your boss and peers

Soliciting feedback is seeking constructive remarks about your actions or lack thereof to improve your work. You can ask your peers and boss, especially if you are looking at taking ownership of the areas where you are struggling or need growth opportunities.

Strive to improve yourself daily through feedback from other people to continue being successful at your work.

If there are any areas where you need improvement, asking for help is a good step forward in taking responsibility for your development.

Also read: 10 Ways How to Be Attentive to Details

14. Accepting challenges

Accepting new challenges means you are ready to take on something new, even if you lack enough knowledge or experience. Taking challenges confidently means recognizing that challenges are opportunities for growth and improvement.

When you take ownership of your work, you may be required to embark on a project or task outside your everyday responsibilities. But you can succeed if you are willing to put your mind and effort into learning new things.

You can learn a lot from challenging situations because they help develop your teamwork skills and give you a sense of purpose.

15. Being proactive

People who take ownership are more likely to be proactive, which means they will complete tasks before being asked or bring ideas for improving processes within their department.

Taking ownership is about understanding the importance of your job role in achieving company goals and taking the initiative when it seems like no one else will.

16. Taking ownership of appraisal comments

Taking ownership of appraisal comments means accepting responsibility for the appraisal feedback and using it to improve and grow. When you take ownership of appraisal comments, the overall goal is to use the feedback to improve performance and enhance personal and professional growth.

It involves reflecting on the comment, identifying areas for improvement, and setting actionable goals for yourself or developing a plan to better yourself in that area.

Great examples of taking ownership of appraisal comments include acknowledging the positive and negative aspects of the feedback and using them to develop a growth plan.

For instance, if the appraisal comments on your excellent teamwork skills, then use this feedback to continue improving those skills and become an even better team player.

If the appraisal comments highlight areas for improvement, such as poor time management, you can set goals to work on these skills and track progress.

Taking ownership of an appraisal comment requires you to balance humility and self-assurance. You must listen to the feedback, wholeheartedly acknowledge the areas needing improvement, and ask questions that allow a better understanding of the comments.

Benefits of taking ownership at work

The benefits of taking ownership at work include feeling empowered to handle any situation that comes your way, finding fulfilment when you act and see the results, and building a positive reputation based on the actions you take. 

1. Feeling empowered

Feeling empowered means, you do not wait for others to tell you what to do or for things to happen magically. Instead, you take the initiative, make decisions, take action, and handle any situation that comes your way.

2. Finding fulfillment

Taking ownership gives you a real feeling of fulfillment when you act and see the results. Such a feeling does not stop when you leave the workplace, it follows you home and fills your whole life with happiness.

3. Building a positive reputation

Your actions at work show what kind of a person you are and how much you contribute in the workplace. Taking ownership of a dire situation builds a positive reputation based on the actions you take which earn you trust, respect, and admiration from your coworkers and boss. 


Taking ownership at work refers to a mindset of showing initiative or taking responsibility of the situation instead of sitting back and waiting for approval from someone or help from others.

The attitude that you should wait until it is convenient for someone else or until someone provides instruction on what to do next means you are not taking ownership.

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