The question “Whose responsibility?” is common in the workplace. Sometimes, everyone gets the blame for something because people don’t want to be accountable for anything. However, taking responsibility at work is something that every employee needs to practice and to be successful, no matter what type of job they have. But first, you need to know what is taking responsibility really means.
What is Taking Responsibility?
Taking responsibility is accepting ownership of your intentions, actions, decisions, and reactions, both good and bad. It is also taking the consequences for the mistakes and failures you make during an assignment or position.
The opposite of responsibility is irresponsibility, which can manifest in a lack of accountability for one’s actions.
Examples of not taking responsibility include blaming others for mistakes, refusing to apologise or own up to a commitment you made, waiting for a solution to present itself, saying “It’s not my problem,” and to be afraid of being wrong.
The unwillingness to take responsibility may stem from a lack of trust or respect for others. The bottom line is such behavior undermines team morale and performance, eroding relationships within the workplace.
Examples of Responsibility
Responsibility cannot be demonstrated in words only. It must be backed up by actions and behaviors that show accountability for one’s actions and commitments. Without action, words amount to nothing more than hollow promises.
Here are 16 examples of responsibility at work:
1. Take Responsibility for Your Actions
When someone does not do what they promised, if you can, you should do it yourself. Do not spend your time worrying about someone’s inactions. Worry about the things you do because you are responsible for your own action.
Also, when you have a problem at work, it can be tempting not to do anything and hope that someone else will fix it. But that is not the right thing to do if you can solve the problem yourself.
Waiting for someone else to come and fix your problem or clean up your mess is one of the examples of not taking responsibility. Take control of your issues and try to solve them on your own.
2. Change Your Work Environment
Good examples of responsibility include suggesting to your boss or someone else that you want to do projects in areas outside your current role.
That way, they will be more likely to put you on different projects or tasks. You can also take on difficult tasks for the long-term good of your skills and future promotions.
3. Admit Your Mistakes
Accept responsibility if you make a mistake, own up to it, and apologize. Learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat them. Don’t excuse your behavior or make excuses for yourself. It shows humility on your part.
Read also: Top 20 Positive Character Traits for the Workplace
4. Be Respectful at All Times
There are invisible social contracts at every workplace, and you have to figure out how to respect them. You don’t have to be popular or social at work.
All you need to do is learn and respecting the visible and invisible rules of the workplace. Whether that is to be at work on time, avoid conflict, being respectful to colleagues, or anything that can get you in trouble.
5. Be Proactive in Offering Solutions to Issues
When a team member fails to complete their project while you have with your own, give them feedback about what they can do to get back on track.
You might also have to offer help with the project, depending on whether your input is necessary for it to be completed or not.
6. Provide Unsolicited Feedback
Offer unsolicited constructive feedback and suggestions on projects or assignments that need improvement.
It will demonstrate that you care enough about success or failure and often motivate your colleagues to look critically at their work.
7. Do your Best Work and Never Give up
Taking responsibility can be difficult when you receive conflicting instructions or feel like giving up because things are too hard.
The key is to keep going and never back down from challenging tasks. People will trust and consider you as an effective employee who can handle anything.
Read more: 16 Character Traits of a Hard Worker
8. Be Honest with Everybody
Being honest is to be respectful and responsible. Anything that may affect your work, you should tell your boss to help you.
If it’s a work-life balance issue, things are running more slowly than planned, or people give you trouble at work or anything else that might need their attention.
9. Ask Questions to Understand
If some things seem confusing and struggling, ask someone else who understands. You will never know everything about your job.
That is why it’s essential to let someone help you. Whenever you don’t understand somethings at work, ask your supervisor, manager, or coworker for help.
If they can’t help with your questions, talk to other people who might know the answers. When you do that, it shows that you are accepting responsibility to know the right things about your job.
10. Never Blame Others
Don’t blame other people for your problems at work. Instead, look inside yourself and find ways to solve the issues.
Someone who takes personal responsibility at work can be resourceful, and they demonstrate that whenever things go wrong.
Read more: How to Manage Workload Effectively with Conflicting Deadlines
11. Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions
You are accountable for your success, and you know that distractions can lead to procrastination. So, you stay focused, avoiding all those things that could derail your progress.
When you take responsibility for your work, it helps you stay on track and makes you accountable to yourself and others around you.
It is distractions that often lead many people to procrastinate at work, but others avoid such habits by remaining focused on their responsibilities.
12. Avoid Frustrating Others with False Promises
Good examples of taking responsibility include avoiding to make false promises. If you know that a task will take you longer to complete, tell people who depend on your part of the work how much time it would take so there is no confusion or frustrations later if you are unable to complete the work on time.
13. Speak Up to Highlight Problems
Another good example of taking responsibility is to speak up if there is a work problem that needs attention. The purpose of speaking up is to highlight the issue and find a solution together, not just complain. So, if possible and appropriate, make suggestions of fixing it but remember to do so respectfully.
14. Don’t Gossip about Other People
It’s not appropriate to gossip about other people at work. Talking about other people at work is unprofessional and could be damaging to professional relationships. It is the quickest way to lose friends and trust from your colleagues.
Focus on doing your job, and resist talking about others or making rumors and side talks. Whenever you feel tempted to gossip about someone at work, pause and ask yourself – who is this going to help?
Read more: 14 Character Traits of a Good Team Member at Work
15. Go to Work Everyday
Attendance is probably the most important thing an employee can do — when you show up for work and on time.
It’s important to remember that your attendance is a factor in how your manager evaluates you. If you are often late for work, it will mean that you don’t take your job seriously and are not a reliable worker.
16. Show up to Meetings on Time and Prepared
Make sure to come prepared for meetings. Bring all necessary materials to a meeting with you like, PowerPoint slides and a laptop with the meeting agenda ready before coming to allow for participation. Be on time because it shows respect toward others in the meeting.
A lot of responsibility goes into success but, it starts with you. The most important thing in your career is what you do every day. You can’t control how well your boss manages or make your team members get along.
But you can control how you work and what type of attitude you bring to the job each day. If anything, undesirable happens at work, deal with it rather than waiting for others.
Take personal responsibility for solving the problem by taking action and doing whatever needs to do to make things better again.
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