How to Get People to Take Responsibility

Irresponsibility doesn’t see the damage it does, until it’s too late.

“I didn’t mean to,” is not acceptable.

“I did my best,” is anecdotal.

winston churchill the price of greatness

When people don’t take responsibility:

  1. Reputations decline.
  2. Timelines are extended.
  3. Performance falls short.
  4. Frustration shoots up.
  5. Goals are adapted.
  6. Accusation and blame escalates.
  7. Gossip soars. “What’s up with Fred? He never get’s things done on time.”
  8. Excuses abound. Irresponsible people give “good” reason for irresponsibility.
  9. Higher ups complain.
  10. Stress increases.

How to get people to take responsibility:

  1. Be responsible yourself. What have you pushed to the side of your plate, hoping it will go away?
  2. Agree on goals, don’t simply give assignments.
  3. Explain goals in light of the big picture. What’s the purpose? Who is impacted by success or failure?
  4. Get commitments.
    • What are you going to do?
    • When are you going to deliver it?
    • How will you achieve your goal?
    • When will you work on this?
    • What will you do if you realize you might fall short?
  5. Provide a path to success.
    • What resources do you need? How will you get them?
    • What skills might need developed?
    • Who needs to participate?
  6. Respond to sincere failure gracefully. But, before you do, examine excuses.
    • When did you realize you would fall short?
    • What did you do when you faced obstacles?
    • When did you begin working on this project?
    • What did you actually do? Don’t accept, “I did my best.”
  7. During stretch assignments, stay close but don’t handhold.
  8. Monitor progress. Create incremental milestones.
  9. Give abundant feedback along the way, not after the fact.
  10. Don’t throw people under the bus. Stand with people who fall short, if you are going to keep them on the team.

How do you help people take responsibility?

*Thanks to Facebook friends for their suggestions.