- the state or fact of being responsible.
- an instance of being responsible: “The responsibility for this mess is yours!”
- a particular burden of obligation upon one who is responsible:the responsibilities of authority.
Why do some people find it difficult, maybe even impossible, to accept responsibility for their actions?
The Blame Game
There are many parents who blame the school system when their children tell them that the teachers are horrible and they would rather move the child than deal with the problem in the child. This is also true in business, there are many that will blame the boss rather than look at their own behaviour and correct it. At what point does this type of person accept responsibility for what they have experienced?
We all like to feel important and valued and for others to admire us. There are some people who develop a view of themselves that is beyond their capabilities. There is a link here to being in denial (which can create a false perception of oneself) and an inability to accept the truth. When this happens, it becomes painful or impossible to accept that it is normal to make mistakes. And when mistakes are made, this type of person just points the finger at somebody else. This person cannot think objectively and cannot accept involvement for their own actions. This can manifest itself as bitterness and blame.
“Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.” Alfred A. Montapert
The inability to accept responsibility for our actions and behaviours is a result of insecurity. In taking on board responsibility, one may feel they are admitting to being weak, powerless, or an opportunity to lose the respect of others. This type of thinking may result in a person feeling the loss of their own value and importance.
However, it is actually the opposite that is true; accepting responsibility earns you respect.
There is no one that can be perfect all the time. We will all make mistakes. It is when we accept responsibility for our mistakes and take any reprisal on the chin that enables us to improve our lives.Just the act of saying ‘I am responsible’ can be liberating and demonstrates the measure of a persons self-worth and security.
It is a true sign of strength and courage.
The power that can be felt by moving into this acceptance of responsibility and taking action can not only be life-changing for the person experiencing it, but also for those around them. It is empowering and opens the door to growth.
Growing Up – You Decide
Who would you have the most respect for, someone who accepts responsibility for their actions and is willing to change, or someone who continually denies any failings or involvement in situations?
The acceptance of responsibility is a sign of emotional intelligence and maturity.
A Series of Unfortunate Events…
What happens when you fail to take responsibility for your actions?
- Your brain is in denial and the subconscious mind may sabotage any plans or goals you may have.
- You may start to cut people out of your life in the blame cycle and not get on well with others.
- You may stick to a certain number of people who are in the same negative mindset. This in itself may perpetuate the denial and blame.
- You may find yourself constantly in similar situations continually finding someone to blame or moving job or house to ‘get away’ from people or situations.
- You may become inpatient, intolerant and demanding. This may result in placing unrealistic expectations on others causing you to become their critic and re-entering the blame cycle.
- You will experience consistent episodes of self-doubt and your self-confidence will dip to very low points.
- People will avoid you or gradually lose contact with you because they will find your behaviour false, unsavoury or just difficult.
- When you are at a low point in self-confidence, your need to be right all the time will be heightened and you will often go over old ground to underline why you were right.
When the inability to accept responsibility is sustained over a long period, you will experience a change in your character more visible to others than to yourself. You may become over reliant on others, unable to function without the approval of those who are still friends, angry, defeatist, unhappy, a quitter, irrational, huffy and defiant.
Lead with Integrity – Accepting Responsibility
How to really say ‘I am responsible’ and mean it!
- Stop and think. Take some time to genuinely assess how difficult you find it to accept responsibility for your actions and your behaviour.
- If you have chosen to do something, than you must accept that you cannot blame anyone else for that choice or the outcomes of it.
- Work on your self-esteem on a daily basis by being authentic. When you know you are good, your behaviour will match your feelings. Then, if you make an error of judgement, you will be able to accept that you were wrong on this occasion.
- Build up your self confidence by actively do things that give you confidence. You won’t be as defensive when you make a mistake when you have some self-confidence fuel in your tank.
- Release you fears because they creates insecurities. Fact find, ask questions, practice. But never fear.
- Accept yourself for who you are, warts and all! If you learn to love you and all that you are then others will find it easier to do the same.
- Be giving of yourself in time, knowledge and your money!
- Above all – it is okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are merely lessons in how not to do things. Accept them as that, move on, and make things right.
- Be humble and show grace. Understand the needs of others around you and accept them for what they are.
- Find gratitude! Be grateful for the things and people in your life. Look for the good stuff instead of the bad and acknowledge it.
Taking responsibility can change your life for the better! So go and set some goals, forget the past, and concentrate on your successful new future.
I have had personal experience of this in the last year and had to accept responsibility for some failures. I’d love to hear from you.
What has been your most difficult time in taking on responsibility? What were your biggest learnings from this acceptance? How did it make you feel? How many people do you know and recognise from the text above?
Mandy Russell is Managing Director of Mpower International Limited
She helps with Coaching, Leadership and Teambuilding Workshops and Training
Email │ LinkedIn │ Facebook │ Twitter │ Web │ Blog │ Skype: mandy-russell │ 07831 1250288
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Filed under: Coaching Corner, Leadership Lessons Learned, Leading Change, Practical Steps to Influence, Professional Development, Servant Leadership Tagged: | Attitude, blame, character, communication, courage, emotional intelligence, goals, Gratitude, relationships, Responsibility, self denial, Success