How Leaders Avoid Responsibility

Posted on November 6, 2019 by Nate Regier / 1 comments
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Have you ever heard these phrases at work?

  • I had no choice.
  • You left me no option.
  • Have you had a chance to review the email I sent?
  • You made me angry.
  • I have to move our appointment.
  • If it’s not too much trouble.
  • What do we want to do next?

You have a choice, and it’s your choice to make, regardless of the consequences. You are the leader. You also have options. One option is to do nothing. Own your decision and the consequences that follow. Take responsibility and say, “Because of XYZ, I have chosen to ______.”

Actually, he did have a chance to review your email. You sent it a week ago. The real question is, “Did you review the email I sent you?” That’s taking personal responsibility for what you want and naming the real behavior you looking for.

Nobody is in charge of my feelings. I feel angry because there’s a gap between what I want and what you did. My anger is directly related to how I interpreted what happened. I am at least 50% responsible for that gap, and 100% responsible for how I respond to that gap. Take responsibility for your feelings by saying, “I am angry because I interpreted what you said in this way…”

No, you don’t HAVE to move the appointment. Nobody is holding a gun to your head. You could ignore the fire in your life or a higher priority and accept the consequences. It’s your choice to move the appointment. Own your choice, be honest about it, and take responsibility for how you’ve chosen to prioritize. Say, “I am moving our appointment because _________.”

If it’s too much trouble, then why did you bring it up? If it’s important to you, then it’s worth asking for. You are worth it. It’s their responsibility to discern how much trouble it is. Don’t give them an escape plan from the beginning.

What do we do next? Who is this “we” you are talking about. We has never taking responsibility for anything. Own up by sharing what you want, and ask others what they want.

Compassion means taking 100% responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and allowing others to do the same. Compassionate leaders role-model this in every interaction.

What other phrases do you use that can be replaced to take more responsibility?

Copyright Next Element Consulting LLC, 2019

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Photo of Jenny Hardin, LMSW
Jenny Hardin, LMSW
Posted on November 20, 2019

Super article Nate that digs deeper into this dynamic and practice in the business world. (Two-way accountability and sane communication). Relevant and timely in today’s workplace. Thanks for posting!

Photo of Nate Regier
Nate Regier
Posted on November 24, 2019

Thank you, Jenny.

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