“Responsibility” according to Merriam Webster is defined in different ways: First, as the state of being the person who caused something to happen. Second, as a duty or task that you are required or expected to do. Third, as something that you should do because it is morally right, legally required, etc.
When we take total responsibility for ourselves, it covers a lot of different things. It means being responsible for our own thoughts, our own emotions and our own actions. Consequently, it also means that unaccomplished expectations, we may have about specific situations and/or other people are a main cause for our (perceived) problems and disappointments. The other side of the coin: It’s our choice and our responsibility to solve those issues.
We cannot change the weather and we cannot change other people. But we can inspire them to change themselves, which is one dimension of leadership. But it’s always our responsibility to decide how we respond to our environment, how we respond to situations we find ourselves in, how we deal with other people’s behavior. Let’s accept the fact that other people’s behavior has often much more to do with them and their story than it has to do with us. Don’t judge other people for their behavior, even if it’s hard not to do so. You didn’t walk in their shoes, so you will never completely understand their story, even if you know their story pretty well. And vice versa, they didn’t walk in your shoes, which is why they will never completely understand what their behavior really means for you.
Not judging others is an absolutely worthwhile journey – for yourself. Because it doesn’t help you to blame others for their behavior. That’s only assuming no responsibility for yourself and shifting responsibility on to somebody else. Once you have arrived in a non-judging mode, you can see much clearer how a situation really looks like from different perspectives. And you gain a lot of freedom – freedom to decide on your actions and reactions and on your behavior. That’s your responsibility! This is where the buck stops.
Responsibility is the price of freedom
It’s up to you to stick to your behavior or to change it, slightly or radically. It’s up to you to decide on your actions and reactions based on your values, core beliefs and life principles. But don’t ignore your values, core beliefs and life principles. Be authentic, be yourself.
This principle of responsibility is not only the key to success for our private issues and our business challenges. It’s also true for the bigger picture, to master the challenges of the 21st century.
Accepting full responsibility for your own actions and reactions, for your decisions, behaviors and attitudes means being able to lead yourself. This is the prerequisite to lead others, in a changing economy, in a constantly changing world, in a complex environment, where the only stable element is – uncertainty.
Be responsible for your own playfulness
Be responsible for your own creativity
Be responsible for leading yourself
Lead yourself. Lead others. Drive transformation.