Manufacturing Excellence – Inspire, Lead and Succeed with RESPONSIBILITY!

“I must do something” always solves more problems than “Something must be done.” 
~ Author Unknown

I often wonder how work life would be if everyone would take responsibility for their actions without trying to blame everyone else around them. Wouldn’t this be nice?

Why do people talk about others instead of doing a better job themselves? I believe most people assume that taking on responsibility means being overwhelmed, stressed and having to deal with verbal abuse from their managers when things go wrong. They feel that they don’t get the support they need and they don’t know what exactly to expect. Do you think this assumption is an assumption or is this assumption a fact?

One of the many challenges that organizations have is that their people don’t want to take on responsibility. Why is that?

Just recently I worked with a company and this was certainly one of their main challenges. Their employees say that they want to take on responsibility but in reality, the opposite is the case. When something doesn’t go the way they expect it to go, it is all about passing on responsibility to the next person. It is not me, it is you. It is not our department, it is the other department. It is not this shift, it is the other shift.

One worker told me, “Why would I take on responsibility for something if I don’t have the support from the top? They don’t want to hear what I have to say. That’s why I just do the bare minimum and this helps me to get through the day.”  

I believe that many people avoid responsibility out of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of losing face, fear of failure, and fear of not being able to handle a new challenge. We can all relate to this because we know how powerful fear can be when it comes to making different choices. It is human nature that we not want to deal with it because very few of us actually know how to deal with it.

 It is easy to shift responsibility from one person to the next but it is far from easy to face the truth, handle it in a professional manner and to learn from mistakes.

So how can this fear of taking on responsibility be overcome?  Why is it that people shrug away from assuming responsibility?

Well, it has been said that we learn from mistakes but often times, companies punish their employees when mistakes are made.  Why are we not allowed to make mistakes if we can learn from them?

Unfortunately, we live in a “do it right the first time” culture and very rarely is it about the lessons learned and finding the root cause so that it won’t happen again. It is more about looking to find the person responsible for the mistake and blame him or her for our own possible shortcomings such as lack of training, mentoring, coaching and a lack of clear expectations.

It is so simple yet, because people don’t know what it means to take on responsibility, they immediately assume the worst. This is something that universities and  business schools need to address and include in their curriculum. 

As the word responsibility implies, taking responsibility means having the ability to respond. If you look at it this way, shouldn’t every single person feel proud to be a responsible person?

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