I’d be lying if I told you that it feels great to have responsibility every day. The truth is, sometimes it can sound like hell, and sometimes it’s the most rewarding thing you’ll ever experience. It all depends on your outlook on life, but either way – you have to stand by your responsibilities.
Responsibility Means Many Things
Whether you’re a parent, student, classroom teacher, entrepreneur, or employee, when you take on responsibility, your first expectation may be positive because you get to give instructions and make decisions, or negative because you’ll spend less time with your loved ones or achieve your personal goal.
And in both cases, you’re right!
5 Examples of What It Sounds Like to Take Responsibility
1. You Have to Make Decisions
When you have responsibilities, it means that you make decisions not only for yourself but also for others (e.g., for your spouse and child, or sometimes for loved ones, your classroom community, your staff, a small group in your local community, etc.).
You can make your own decisions and do not need anyone to tell you what to do, and if it works, that’s great! But if it does not work, the cost is higher than if you decide for yourself.
Making the right decisions is an important part of entrepreneurship, and there’s no way around it. Inevitably, you’ll have to make decisions that are hard for you to make – whether it’s deciding what product to buy or sell, which school to choose for your child, engaging students, how much to spend on marketing, or what time of day to launch your business.
These decisions require thought and planning, and you need to be prepared for the consequences. If you are not prepared for the consequences of your actions, you will lead everyone into chaos with you.
It’s easy to go through life not thinking about the consequences of your actions because you do not yet know what they will be – especially when you are just starting out. As your startup grows, however, you’ll have to make more responsible decisions every day.
For example, if you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll have to decide whether to hire employees, how much inventory to order, and how much money to spend on marketing efforts.
Each of these decisions will likely have a direct impact on your bottom line. Therefore, it’s important that you carefully weigh all of the factors before making any responsible decision that could affect your livelihood.
2. You Need to Stay Informed About Everything
Being responsible means being reliable, keeping promises, and fulfilling commitments. It means accepting the consequences for what we say and do. It also means developing our potential. We cannot be held responsible for things we cannot control, but we must be responsible for ourselves and our actions.
We are responsible for our actions and behavior. The choices we make today affect the future. Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude toward us.
Being well informed is critical to making good decisions in life and in business. Every day we are bombarded with information from a variety of sources – Google search, newspapers, magazines, TV news programs, personal conversations, radio broadcasts, the Internet, and e-mail messages. But how many of these sources can you trust? How do you know what information is accurate or true?
To get to the truth, you must be able to distinguish between facts and opinions and know which resources are reliable. Facts can be verified and proven true, opinions cannot. They are statements that can be supported by evidence; opinions are statements that cannot be proven because they express a belief or judgment about something.
In business, you need to know how your industry is evolving, how labor law is evolving, and even how cultures are evolving.
For example, you may be managing people from the older generation, Millennials and Generation Z, three different cultural groups with different goals and expectations.
When you are in charge of people, you need to ensure effective communication so you can motivate everyone to achieve your goals.
3. You Need to Be Proactive
Taking responsibility means you have to take the initiative, right? It’s not enough to admit your mistakes. You also have to make sure they do not happen again.
To be a responsible person, you need to keep track of the things that need to get done and get them done – on time. If you are responsible for something, you need to finish it. That’s an important part of being responsible.
4. You Have to Be Open-Minded and Learn to Adapt Quickly
Sometimes you will be faced with challenges or asked to do something that is not really your area of expertise. In such cases, the ability to adapt is an important part of performing your duties.
The best way to adapt quickly is to be open-minded. If you only look at the situation from one point of view, it will be difficult for you to respond to the needs of others or even find a different solution. Being open-minded also allows you to find different ways to approach the same problem.
Sometimes this is not easy. That’s why some people choose not to be open-minded and stick to what they know. However, this limits their ability to develop professionally and improve their skills.
If you want to take on more responsibility and become more successful in your career, you should start by being more open-minded about everything that is happening around you. Being open-minded does not mean you have to accept every suggestion, but you can learn something from it that could help you improve your leadership decisions in the future.
5. You Deal With All Kinds of People and Situations
Responsibility means you deal with all kinds of people and situations. You need to know how to tell a customer no without losing their business, and how to give feedback without hurting anyone.
You become a better judge of character because you quickly learn who you can trust, who you can work well with, and who is worth the extra effort.
You also learn to really listen to other people’s concerns and advice. Even if they are wrong or do not know what they are talking about, you feel better understood when you listen to them.
5 Advantages of Taking Responsibility
1. Professional Development
Taking on additional responsibility is one of the best ways to learn new skills and develop strategies. Taking on a new responsibility at work means a whole new learning experience.
You’ll need to figure out how best to accomplish your goals, from setting deadlines to hiring contractors or organizing partnerships. Depending on your role, you may also develop management skills while juggling these new tasks with your existing responsibilities.
2. Work on Your Own Behavior
Responsible people are expected to have a positive attitude and patience. They have the strength to overcome difficulties and hardships and succeed, which makes them happy and satisfied.
Such people practice a positive attitude and can resist the negative effects of external factors, so they build strong relationships and better results. It may seem simple, but in reality, it is a long learning process, as you will be dealing with people who come from different backgrounds and have different expectations. You may not always be able to please everyone, but you will certainly learn a lot about yourself and others!
3. Improve Your Communication Skills
You may think that your communication skill depends only on what you have to say and how you give each instruction. But in reality, the most important skill in communication is the ability to listen. And if you are in a position of responsibility, it’s even more important that you can listen, understand, and act appropriately.
As a leader, you deal with people every day. You need to be able to understand their needs and desires and communicate your own in a way they can process. Social-emotional learning and empathy are a big part of your learning process. It’s also a good idea to learn restorative practice and strategies on how to deal with challenging behavior and our own emotions.
A good communicator knows how to get their team members excited about a particular project or put a plan into action. You need to be able to give clear instruction(s) so everyone is pulling in the same direction. And you have to know how to motivate people who are struggling with the task or who just are not as enthusiastic as you are.
For example, if a person or a small group of team members has a new idea that does not fit with your overall goals, you need to learn to respond thoughtfully and kindly, rather than just saying “no.” It’s important those you lead feel their voices are heard and that they know they are valued as members of the team – even if their ideas do not fit the goals. However, sometimes it’s not always easy to find the time to formulate perfect sentences, at the right time.
4. Gather Knowledge
You can learn something from every positive experience, and from your mistakes. It’s in our nature to learn from what we practice, as well as from what others do. Basically, the more responsibility you take, the more knowledge you gain.
If you made a mistake, learn from it, rather than blaming someone in your team. We all make mistakes. Mistakes are a natural part of life, and they are often the best part of our learning process. Learn to use every mistake as an opportunity to grow and develop your skills.
Give yourself a chance to gain knowledge through responsibility. The amount of knowledge you will gain is incredible; it will make you a better person.
5. You Will Create Opportunities for Yourself and Others
Once you have made a name for yourself as someone who is good at making responsible decisions and willing to take on additional responsibilities, people will see you as a responsible person who is needed in the workplace or to do business with.
This opens up opportunities for personal and professional growth.
A great leader becomes an invaluable team member, like a great parent to their child or a classroom teacher to their dedicated students.
There’s nothing better for morale than knowing your team can count on you to get the job done.
As a leader who takes on additional responsibilities and looks for new opportunities, your team will appreciate your commitment to helping them succeed.
5 Disadvantages of Responsibility
1. Hard work
The benefits of responsibility are obvious: you are more likely to be respected by your colleagues, to get promoted, and to enjoy your work.
But there are also some disadvantages, including stress. And if you are an entrepreneur, you can expect a lot of homework.
If you are the leader and you make a decision, you are responsible for it.
That’s a heavy burden, especially when people’s lives are at stake. If you have to fire employees because of your previous choice, you may feel guilty for years to come. It’s not just about money or success, it’s about people’s livelihoods and expectations.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll also find that taking on responsibilities requires many hours away from the office: Reading books and articles, attending lectures, attending conferences, and meeting with mentors. Sometimes it may feel like it never ends.
If you’re a younger student, be prepared to do extra homework if you want to learn the right strategies to ensure you’re engaging students, and succeed in your leadership role at the campus.
Being a great leader means extra hard work, constant awareness of others, and building strong relationships, while always trying to keep a positive attitude, it’s a choice!
Being a leader myself and far from perfect, I see it not only as professional development but also as personal responsibility.
Multitasking can be a major enemy of productivity.
However, when you’ve many tasks, you can’t just drop one because you only need to focus on one. Sometimes you’re dealing with multiple emergencies. For example, if you’re an entrepreneur: A team member is on sick leave, and something needed to get done today, while in the meantime you need to
- You need to read a contract you’re supposed to sign today and didn’t make it before because you’d something more important to do
- You need to meet someone for lunch who can give you useful advice for your business, but that person will be out of town soon and unavailable on another day
- It’s your daughter’s birthday party and she’s anxious to see her friends (probably the only time they’ll all be together in one place)
Multitasking isn’t what makes people the most efficient, but sometimes you need to do it. It’s important to know your level of multitasking ability and your priorities.
You may be a good multitasker, however, it’s usually best not to overdo it.
3. Accountability and Risks
Almost every responsible decision involves some level of risk. Sometimes it’s possible to assess the risks and weigh them against the benefits before deciding what to do. In other cases, the situation is less clear because there are too many factors at play to evaluate individually.
In such cases, you need to weigh all the available options and their likely consequences and decide which course of action best meets your needs. You must also weigh whether the risks associated with a decision outweigh the benefits of implementing it.
It’s not always possible to know whether a risk is worth taking or not. The outcome of our actions or decisions can never be completely certain. We cannot predict how someone else will react or how a situation will unfold, even if we’ve carefully considered all available information.
Sometimes we simply have no choice but to take a risk, even if we’re not sure what the outcome will be. If we don’t act, nothing will change and an opportunity may be lost.
4. You Can’t Run Away From Your Obligations
One of the most important obligations is to be true to your word. People are relying on you, and if you don’t do what you said you’d, there can be negative consequences.
For example, taking responsibility for others means being there for them when they need you. If you promise to help someone and then don’t follow through, it can have a big impact on their life and yours.
Sometimes people feel overwhelmed by their responsibility and try to run away from it. The problem is that you can’t really run away from them. They’ll always be there waiting for you to face them or get rid of them.
Facing responsibilities means facing the fact that you’ve obligations in life and managing them accordingly. It doesn’t mean taking care of every little thing that comes up in life; it just means doing what needs to be done and taking responsibility for your actions or inactions.
5. You’re Responsible for Every Decision
Sometimes people may disagree with the decisions you make, and do everything to prevent you from succeeding.
Everyone relies on you to make the right decision, and if someone else makes your project fail, you ultimately bear the responsibility.
How Do to Deal With Responsibility
The most important thing you can do if you feel that responsibility is overwhelming you isn’t to take on additional personal responsibility or personal accountability in your private life if you don’t have to.
For example, go to SPA, where you can just get comfortable, or watch a movie that doesn’t require deep thinking, such as a comedy. Exercise, meditate or talk with positive friends – not ones who dump their stress on you, that’s the last thing you want!
Try to work on your positive behavior and study the restorative practice.
And learn to say no. I know from experience that many people you manage will approach you on Linkedin, for example, and compliment you first to make you feel good, and before you know it, you’re spending another hour of your time in a zoom call with a person you don’t know trying to sell you something. If you’ve no intention of doing business with the people who approach you, then just politely back out of the conversation.
How to Show Responsibility
Self-responsible people are good at managing their time. They’re determined and do what they need to do without making excuses.
They’re willing to work hard and are proud of what they’ve accomplished. They’re focused on the future and have a plan for success.
Good communication skill is also important when you’re leading a team. Self-directed people not only listen but also speak up and are open to feedback from others.
They know how to handle conflict professionally and aren’t afraid to admit mistakes or apologize when necessary.
Great leaders take responsibility for their actions, successes, failures, strengths, and weaknesses. They don’t blame others or look for excuses.
They’re proactive rather than reactive. This means they take the initiative before they’re asked to or before it’s absolutely necessary.