Ten Keys To Real Responsibility

June 7, 2011

I’m not a big fan of acronyms, but I created the acronym REAL – responsibility, expectations, accountability, learning – to try to describe what I think right relationships at work should look like. I recognize that very few of our relationships at work will develop into the goal of interdependent partnerships, but that can never be an excuse for us to not continually strive to prepare ourselves and others to be increasingly more interdependent with and less dependent upon each other.

Assuming full responsibility for your performance and citizenship behaviors at work is the foundation of interdependence. You can never be truly interdependent if your behaviors force others to assume responsibility for you. Here are a few suggestions for how we can master our current responsibilities, improve the jobs that we do, do more than what’s expected by helping others, and care about our purpose:

1. Understand your organization’s purpose, why it exists to do what it does. Don’t expect to find this written in an official document – you might have to think hard about this yourself

2. Understand why you were selected for your position over others

3. Understand how your work contributes to the organization’s final products and services, and why your work matters

4. Understand when and how your performance is measured and how it is evaluated. Make a list of the daily behaviors you need to exhibit to exceed your metrics

5. Invest in your own personal development

6. As you master your current responsibilities, look for ways to improve the work you do. Find the courage to communicate your suggestions in the form of solutions rather than complaints

7. As you master and now improve your current responsibilities, look for ways you can help others with their responsibilities

8. Be trustworthy as well as trusting of others

9. Engage with your work and colleagues instead of waiting to be engaged

10. If you are not satisfied with your work, identify the root cause and try to fix it. Commitment is a powerful driver of performance and citizenship behavior, and you will never fully commit if you are not satisfied with your work.

I’m not suggesting this list is compressive, but it’s a good start. Have I left out anything important? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Related Posts:

Interpersonal Citizenship Behavior

C.K. Prahalad: The Responsible Manager

Interdependent Excellence

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Comments (4)

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  1. Bret,

    Awesome list of ways someone can increase their influence at their workplace, while also increasing their productivity and efficiency. I think it is very important for an employee to understand their role and function in a company in relation to the actual purpose of the company. Great post!

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome back Greg, and thanks for sharing your thoughts! Bret

  2. Bret,

    I would have to say that #4 is the best at this time. I am reading the Four-Hour Work Week and I am working on only doing things that generate revenue. I can do this, because I have about an hour per day for improvement and interaction.

    Thanks for sharing excellent information.

    Excellent Post.

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    I’ve heard that’s a good book, Jeremy. If I ever get some extra hours, I’d like to check it out someday 🙂 Thanks for sharing! Bret