I value taking responsibility because it gives us a determination to leave things better than we found them, whether it’s taking your cup to the kitchen at the end of the day or taking responsibility for delivering a result. Job titles often prevent us putting all our talents and abilities to good use. In my experience the magic happens when all of us bring our ideas, humour and spirit to the table.
Creating the future we want requires us to accept responsibilities outside our comfort zones. This can mean trusting our own judgment and jumping in, then seeking advice when we need it rather than waiting for permission. In doing so we need to understand the bigger picture and direct our energies and creativity to the success of the mission and not just the bit we're working on. In such an environment, there's no room for jerks who act in a rubbish—which means don’t lie, don’t let people down, and don’t forget to order more teabags if you use the last one.
We all want every day to feel open and full of possibilities so it’s important we trust in each other's motives and abilities. In giving trust to others we are saying, “I believe in you and I believe you’ll do the right thing.” Without this trust we risk wasting time and energy monitoring people and managing details we shouldn’t be concerned with, rather than adding value ourselves. When we feel trusted we may feel more comfortable taking initiative and accepting responsibility. By stepping forward we are saying to others, “I’ve got this. I’ll deliver on what I said I’m going to do.” And if it turns out we’ll fall short, we’re forthcoming, honest and proactive with our communication.
We all have the power of personal choice. This affords us freedom—in the roles we play, the projects we are a part of, and the hours we work in the locations we choose—so we may do our best work. In choosing freedom we accept responsibility to positively impact results. Our decisions are made more thoughtfully, with greater care, and with an understanding of how our actions affect other people.
Freedom and self
It’s easy for us to become blinkered or out-of-touch when we’re constantly working with our heads down. Although meeting our commitments is hugely important we bear another responsibility, that is to invest in ourselves and in each other. When we can free our imagination and refresh our minds, we restore perspective and reduce stress. We find time and space to explore new ways to collaborate, be creative and enjoy ourselves to the benefit of our mission.
A safe environment that supports responsibility is more positive and fulfilling. By accepting responsibility we become more action-oriented and gain confidence. The responsibilities we accept in our lives contribute to the type of person we become. With big dreams, bold ideas, and the courage of our convictions we’re free to explore our curiosity and experiment with radical options to create new answers.
Responsibility is something to be embraced, not feared.