Workplace Responsibility Starts with Owning the Work

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workplace responsibility

Workplace Responsibility Starts with Owning the Work

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It’s the big aggravation, trying to figure out what went wrong. Does your team accept workplace responsibility?

When there is a fender bender (or worse) on the corner of 4th and Main onlookers want to know who is responsible. The same is true for delayed products or services, poor customer interactions, and why quality has declined.

Much of the acceptance begins with purpose, the why of what you do. It is also connected with the concept of ownership. Not necessarily formally, but the informal aspect. Who is engaged enough to be accountable for this outcome?

Most people care about something. Their family, the car, rent, or the house payment. Perhaps it is their own image or reputation.

The psychology of work is not really about the paycheck. Yet, that is always a part of it.

Should it be something more?

Workplace Responsibility

Responsibility is about the psychological connections to the work. Yes, it is about a feeling.

People often start off on the right foot. Something new, something exciting, or that big chance to make an impact or difference. Sadly, it often deteriorates to something less.

The feeling may become, the workplace doesn’t care about me, so I don’t care about the workplace. Translation, I don’t give a crap about what goes on here. Where is my paycheck?

It’s an easy trap for management. Easy because they sometimes lack interpersonal relationships. They measure accomplishment and success not by the effort of the people but by the results on the spreadsheet. The human side is off balance or missing completely.

One of the objectives of leadership should be connected to the people. Connected to building and nurturing relationships that create a united effort to accomplish the mission.

In the smallest company to the largest that is probably how it all started. A person or persons who cared enough to build a product or service worthy of being replicated.

It is easy to hide from responsibility.

Encourage ownership. Ownership is not a title or a matter of fact. It is about a feeling. Instead of removing all of the emotion, encourage it.

Responsibility comes from people who care.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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