At this time in our history, it is so easy to point the finger at someone else, or say it’s someone else’s fault that something happened. It’s almost second nature to say that it was the other person’s fault. But it is your responsibility to get yourself to work on time. It is your job to make sure that your reports are submitted in a timely fashion. It is your job to ensure that the directions you give your employees are good ones. In a word, everyone tries to pass the buck. It is up to you to make sure that you are taking responsibility for your actions.
The best way to ensure that you are doing what you are supposed to is self-introspection. Ask yourself questions and see if you can answer them honestly. Don’t look at Jim, Janice, Jon or Janet. It was not their job to have your work done. So, to make sure that you doing what you are supposed to be doing, we’ve put together some things you should ask yourself.
- Was the job assigned to you? There are times when we will switch out responsibilities, or float our schedule due to need, or maybe to help someone out. However, if you agreed to do something and traded with someone without telling your employer about it, there’s a problem. As far as anyone else knows, you are still in charge of the job. So when something hits the fan and the job is not completed, it means that you are going to be the one called on the carpet.
- Did you get it in writing? There have been so many times when you ave spoken to someone on the phone and gotten a verbal agreement. It means nothing until it is documented. Make sure that whatever favor you do or whatever promise is made to you that you get it in writing. Even if it’s in an e-mail, it is at least a documented statement that there was intent. If you failed to get it writing, it would still end up being your fault.
- Are you doing only what you are able? A lot of the time, our responsibilities fall by the wayside because you made too many promises to too many people. Your time is now torn between doing what you are supposed to be doing, and doing favors for Tom, Dick and Harry. It’s fine to help people out, but not at the detriment of your own well-being or work. Try to keep your workload and your promises real and reasonable.
- Do you have the adequate resources to fulfill that job? Yes, you say, you can do this, and this, and that. But if you don’t have the time, money, know how, or resources, it’s going to be an uphill climb making that happen. Make sure you can do what you say you can do before it becomes a problem
- Have you communicated with everyone involved? So, it turns out that you’re running late on whatever you’re supposed to be doing. Have you told the appropriate party? Have you contacted a supervisor, or told the field rep that there is a complication? Most problems can be avoided if you tell someone soon enough that there is an issue. They can be fixed if you give people the time to fix them.
- Have you taken control of your situation? No one is going to take care of you better than you. Have you done everything you can to make your situation work? Have you made the right calls? Have you completed the right assignments? It’s going to be pretty awkward if you don’t have all your ducks in a row and you are trying to point out someone else’s wrongs.
- Are you pointing out other people’s wrongs? You messed up. You know you messed up, and it’s pretty obvious you messed up. Own it and move on. Don’t turn around and say, “Cindy from Tech Support should have done it.” By you taking responsibility, it is far better than becoming a “tattletale” when something goes wrong.
Taking responsibility is not only good for business, it’s a survival technique. By taking responsibility for your actions, people know that you can be trusted. They know that at the end of the day, you are someone who will not only get the job done, but will fix it when it goes wrong. △