Taking Responsibility – Commitments of Conscious Responsibility
In addressing the commitment to becoming a “conscious leader” we previously identified the first step on the road map to success as identifying that commitment by your results, and then to own those results. Remember that this is an ongoing process. Establishing new habits takes concentration and practice and conscious leaders make it a practice to notice when they are “below the line” and then choose to shift above the line (something we referenced in the previous article “Are you a Conscious or Unconscious Leader?”)
Once you have made that initial commitment, the Conscious Leadership Group (CLG) has mapped out your journey with what they call the “15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership”. They advise mastering these one at a time in the order they have listed so I will cover each one separately – starting with taking responsibility – or as they put it “taking radical responsibility”.
Often what the CLG labels as toxic fear leads to blame, shame and guilt – all of which are the antitheses of taking responsibility. Victims tend to whine and it is always the fault of others. Villains tend to place blame. But so-called heroes often take too much of the blame to avoid conflict or tension and taking more than their share of responsibility can be toxic both to themselves and to others. It can lead to burnout for them while not encouraging others to take their share of responsibility, which can create victim mentality and a less than positive team atmosphere.
John Maxwell states that when you take responsibility for yourself, you take responsibility for your learning. Expand taking personal responsibility to include supporting others to take responsibility for their lives and you are then moving from “To Me” to “By Me” leadership.
Not taking responsibility can be debilitating for all involved. It is an unproductive use of time and can create an atmosphere of whining and negativity which is exhausting for all involved. This type of work environment leads to less productivity, high employee turnover and definitely not a team that is collaborative – in fact probably not much of a team at all. Encourage everyone on your team to take full responsibility for their lives and agree to consciously replace blame, criticism and the need to be right with learning and curiosity.
Taking responsibility is not the same as self-blame. It involves changing our view of the world and asking different questions. Rather than “How did this happen?” or “Who is at fault?” try asking yourself what you were meant to learn from this. We often have a belief that the world should be a certain way, but sometimes life just happens. Next, shift your thinking into a more flexible frame of mind. Replace rigidity and pomposity with curiosity and learning. And then focus on what can be learned and how you can grow from this experience. It’s life-changing when you view life as an opportunity to create your experiences rather than being at the mercy of what happens.
“Leadership is taking responsibility while others are making excuses” – John Maxwell