Written by: Karen Fischbach – Pro Leaders Academy Pty Ltd


Each workday we take ourselves to our place of work.  Many of us are on autopilot.  The question is, do we take responsibility for what we actually do during the time we are there?

People are not robots, we don’t all feel the same, we did not all come from the same environment.  There are no algorithms telling us what to do.  We each decide on what our attitudes, actions and behaviour will be every day.

So, why should we be responsible?  Generally, in the workplace people who take responsibility are higher achievers and more flexible to roll with the inevitable changes.

Being responsible is a character trait that is empowered by three key attributes:

  • knowing where you personally are going – having that clarity of purpose and goals to strive for (a personal or work plan would help).
  • making the best decision at the time, considering the situations and the long-term outcomes (some decisions can be made today with no impact now, but have repercussions later, so this requires consideration); and
  • accepting accountability for your actions in the situations.

Our attitude also plays a large part in whether we are willing to potentially be a victim to what is going on around us or be a positive force that is moving forward towards our own goals, and maybe being an uplifting force for others.

Some strategies to reverse the obstacles that threaten to derail our progress are listed below.

Derailing obstaclesEnabling approach
Organisation-wide blame cultureWork to your own culture and standards – sometimes hard, but if you work to reasonable standards and stick to your own ethics, you should overcome issues of blame from others
Take things personallyNo need to be uncaring or a robot, but don’t take things personally – you can do this by removing the emotional words and just looking at the facts (sometimes people will behave in an unpleasant manor to everyone – it’s just not about you – so don’t take it on
Ruminate over things that have happenedYou can’t change the past and with tact, you may be able to prevent the behaviour in the future, but it is over, and you must live in the present to achieve your own goals – don’t give anyone the power to take that away from you – move on!
Ignoring your own mistakesWhy does it matter if you admit you did something wrong?  In theory, your colleagues will see you take responsibility and action to address the issue, and this should give them trust in you (because you are telling the truth and being accountable).

Giving excuses promotes distrust.

No excuses (the opposite of taking responsibility)There may well be obstacles that have caused delays or something to happen when you were trying to achieve something – but it is done – acknowledge it and get straight on to what you can do to get back on track


Most of the above are about you taking control.  This is because thoughts pave the way for actions. Therefore, your thoughts lead to the success of your interpersonal interactions and your decisions (choices).

Empower yourself, no-one else can do it – choose to take responsibility!

The price of greatness is responsibility”, Sir Winston Churchill.

NOTE: The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter, and specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances. The content must not be relied upon as legal, technical, financial or other professional advice.