The Truth About Instilling Responsibility in Others

At the heart of the word responsibility lies the concept of the ability to respond: RESPONS-ABILITY.

Although we think we give responsibility, it is really only effective when it is taken. Therefore, by its very nature responsibility between people is mutual—as are all successful attachments.

Responsibility has a counterpart of accountability. One reason that people resist imposed accountability is that the people in superior positions tell others what they are accountable for but not what they, themselves, are accountable for.

If you expect someone to be responsible and would like optimal performance, then share how you will be accountable.

As long as you are positioning yourself to influence others, you are in a leadership role. An effective approach is to simply explain that you are also accountable. This seems rather obvious but, when articulated, relationships improve.

This topic reminds me of the wife who said to her husband, “You never tell me you love me.” The husband responded, “I told you I love you when we got married ten years ago.” Sometimes the obvious is not so obvious. People need reminders from time to time.

Tip: To put the concept in easy-to-remember terms, collaboration is more effective than domination. By definition, collaboration is mutual, so it naturally creates improved relationships.