It seems to be a question as to when or if at all to accept responsibility these days.
For children this is one of the most important early lessons of their lives yet as they get older it seems like this lesson fades a bit. As adults, why does it seem like there is a question as to whether we will or we won’t accept responsibility?
I liken this question to years ago when I worked with a certain Project Manager who did not know his job. He was actually the husband of the installation manager and she wanted to put her man to work so she said he could manage a project that very clearly was completely over his skill set.
At the very first meeting I attended as part of his team, it came time for him to speak with the clients and vendors, he said “We have to take care of the telco” and then abruptly sat down.
For any telecommunications/VoIP professional we know this isn’t a really correct statement or question really. He was right that the issue of Telco needed attention and we needed to make sure all was in order, but calling it “telco” did cut it, there were very specific technical details surrounding “telco” that clearly he had no idea of.
Since I was a member of his team (actually quite embarrassed about it) I didn’t speak up during the meeting however after the meeting and with our internal team only I asked him to explain what he meant by that statement during the meeting. It was then that I figured out that someone had told him he needed to manage Telco, and he clearly had no idea what this meant.
Very unapologetic, this project manager would not admit he had NO idea what telco was. He would not accept responsibility as far as I was concerned. Big surprise he didn’t last long on any team as a PM.
Why didn’t he just say to his team “hey I’m not familiar with telco, can one of you help me out”?
Why do we as professionals worry that someone might find out that we don’t know 100% of all we do? Why is it, we don’t take responsibility in our job, take responsibility in our relationships, and finally why can’t we take responsibility when we fail with life lessons?
There are so many ways we can fail. We fail by not telling the truth. We fail by taking the wrong approach to deal with a situation. We fail by inaction or fail by taking the wrong action? Either way I’ve learned this lesson, sometimes in a repeated fashion but at in the end I learned.
I learned the lesson of NOT taking responsibility which then means I accept the consequence.
I try to teach my daughters the VERY best thing they can do when they fail or make a mistake is to take full and complete responsibility because it is from there that we can move forward.
If I’m about nothing, I’m about always “moving forward”!