In this day and age of finger pointing and finding blame, it’s difficult to find role models of responsibility.
To illustrate this concept I’ll share something that happened to me yesterday.
I realized one of my car headlights burned out. So I went to Wal-Mart used their self-service auto parts finder, bought the bulb the machine told me and went home. I get home to change the bulb and find out the part doesn’t fit. I say to myself “stupid machine told me the wrong part number; now I have to drive again to get the right part.” Went back the next day to exchange the part to then realize I was trying to replace the wrong bulb! Duh! The machine was right!
Let’s contrast Blame Others vs. Owning the Outcome.
Blame Others (Not Responsible)
- Quickly blamed the machine for the mistake.
- Just did what I was told. Bought what machine said.
- Was annoyed for the trouble someone else caused me.
Owning the Outcome (Responsible)
- I chose to follow the machine without questioning.
- I didn’t check the other bulb just in case I was looking at the wrong one.
- I could have checked the car manual.
The first set is all about being a victim. The second is about ownership of decisions.
Great Leaders understand that every action creates a result; and that behind every action, there’s a decision.
As leaders we get to decide. We choose our response. No one does that for us.
My story can easily be adapted to any situation in the work place. How many times we see the same “blaming” attitude? “I just do what I’m told”, “They gave me the numbers late”, “No one told me about it”, etc. In the end, as Mark Miller suggests, I have to ask myself: What did I do or fail to do, that contributed to the outcome?