Want people to take responsibility?

By: Jan Bolick

Ever wonder why people don’t take responsibility?  This week’s leadership quote suggests a way to change that.

WARNING:  If we give responsibility by dumping stuff on people and then leave them hanging, they will likely leave US hanging with different results than desired and leave us wondering why people don’t take responsibility.

If we want people to take responsibility, we must give it responsibly.  Here are 7 keys for giving responsibility responsibly.

  1. Provide all necessary info up front including:  who,what,when,where, why and how?
  2. Clarify 5WH by using tools like how-to demos, diagrams, practice sessions, checklists, templates and project plans.
  3. Be sure the when includes completion dates as well as check in dates for progress reports and questions.
  4. Allow time and opportunity for clarifying the above.
  5. Now leave her (or him) alone and let her do and be responsible for whatever it is.
  6. If she doesn’t do it or if she hits a delay or snag – resist the temptation to swoop in to save the day.  Leaving her hanging provides an opportunity to resolve the snag on her own AND realize that she really is responsible.
  7. Leave her hanging???  Yes – UNLESS  there is danger of waiting until the next check in time (see #3), wait until then.   During that check in, you can help problem solve OR you might be in for a treat that day.  You might hear a story about the snag she encountered and how she resolved it on her own! A series of such snags and success stories builds pride, confidence and ability/willingness to take on even more responsibility.   And your willingness to give it.

Use this week’s quote as food for thought and discussion this week. Print it, share it, post it on your computer screen (see instructions below) as a reminder to look for ways to develop responsibility in people. Or…you could just do and be responsible for everything yourself.


Thought/Discussion Questions

Based on your desired outcomes…

  1. What do you need to do?
  2. What do you need others to do?
  3. Do they know the who, what, when, where, why and how?
  4. Are you giving them responsibility?
  5. How might you be taking it away – even unknowingly?

Workshop opportunity for your management team!

Help them delegate more effectively and efficiently!  More details here.

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You can post the above quote to your computer screen with just three clicks.

1. Click on the image above. Don’t see an image? Try this link.

2. Right click on the image that appears.

3. On the pull down menu that appears, click on “set as background”. Voila!

There’s still plenty of room on the left side of the screen for all your shortcut icons.

Note: If you don’t like your new wallpaper, don’t want to replace it with a quote from the Business Class Quote Library and don’t know how to get rid of it…… Go to your control panel. Select “Display”. Select “Desktop”. And then choose from the designs offered.”

Or print the PDF version below. Just click on the printer icon in lower right corner of the image.

Problems? Try this link.

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