I am responsible. It is my responsibility. I will be held responsible. Responsible! What does this often mentioned word really mean or imply? According to
; being responsible requires an individual to either state or demonstrate that they are:
answerable or accountable, liable to be required to give an account, as of one’s actions or of the discharge of a duty or trust.
involving personal accountability or ability to act with guidance or superior authority .
chargeable with being the author, cause, or occasion of something .
able to make moral or rational decision on one’s own and therefore answerable for one’s behavour .
able to be trusted or depended upon: reliable.
Presently, I am slowing digesting a riveting book; Leadership by Rudolph W. Giuliani. Chapter Four subtitled “Everyone’s Accountable All of the Time” begins with the author disclosing how a two-word sign on his desk genuinely summarized his whole philosophy: I’m Responsible. This former Mayor is most noted for being organized, his take charge approach to resolving issues, implementing systems base on statistical data and holding New York City police, fire and city chiefs accountable for the crimes, thefts and homicides.
In coaching, the first step in accepting responsibility is acknowledging “what is.” Unfortunate for some, individuals as early as the toddler years learn to shun or fear acknowledging responsibility especially when things go wrong. Who did this? Who is responsible for this? Did you do this? Whether it is said by a parent, teacher, or any figure of authority, imagine a child’s eyes swelling with tears as an act of admitting instead of saying aloud, “yes it was me, I did it, I am responsible.”
Perhaps this behavour attached itself to this type situation due to the potential adverse outcomes which are but may not be limited to penalty, punishment, rejection and possible abandonment. Those of us who have ever experienced high school detention or primary school no lunch time play time can attest to all aforementioned. Well this child has now grown up, possibly shaped and influenced by such traumatic and embarrassing experiences and is now an adult, who bears the title of associate in your workplace and the role of your colleague.
When was the last time you said or heard any of your colleagues say any of these phrases?
I am responsible
It is my responsibility
I will be held accountable
I take full responsibility
Rudolph W. Giuliani closed the chapter by saying “I don’t deserve all of the credit I receive for what went right while I was Mayor, or all of the blame for what went wrong, but I do deserve to be held accountable for the results of my office.”
This lends to a perspective on the suggestion, “
be accountable for all that you are given responsibility for.”
Regardless of our role in the workplace, consider your work a privilege which carries responsibilities. Somewhere, somehow, someone is depending on your or the effective execution of your work.
To be complimented and told that you are “responsible, competent, honest, capable, reliable, or trustworthy” could be amongst the best characteristics and values to be known for; it can cultivate a life legacy that can benefit your children’s children.
“to whom much is given responsibility for, much will be their responsibility”
Paraphrased Bible Verse
Leadership; Rudolph W. Giuliani
Copyright @ 2010 Kaylus Horton
If you or your workplace would benefit from coaching or workshop facilitation in relation to this article or otherwise, please contact me, Kaylus at
or call me at + 242 376 7215 and let us dialog about how best to serve your agenda. Specialties for the Workplace include, mission and vision statement composition, priorities and values, strategic planning and goal setting, job task alignment with associate personalities and competencies, increased excitement and productivity, improved balance and support.
Kaylus Horton is a Path™ Coach, who facilitates learning and discovery for focus, balance and movement. For more information about Kaylus and her coaching services visit