Responsibility in the Workplace

Most of us have been raised with the basic understanding of what it means to be responsible. This will generally come from our parents, our friends’ parents, our grandparents and teachers. Hopefully that puts us in good stead for what comes next in life, entering the workforce and having a job. The baton is then passed to the employee and now fellow workmates will teach us what it means to be responsible at work.

What does that look like?

Having clean and styled hair, fresh makeup (if you are a woman), cleaned and ironed clothes (along with the appropriate attire for your workplace), arriving on time and generally, 15-30mins earlier to your actual start time, learning the skills and requirements of the job, adhering to workplace policy and procedures, adapting to the culture and adding to it in an affirming way, being respectful of fellow employees, taking direction and feedback from management, being a team player, sharing new ideas and teaching new employees your learnt skills.

What if responsibility was more than that, though? And the above was just the by-product, and in fact the bare minimum, of what true responsibility is?

What if true responsibility included how you prepared yourself the night before for your day at work, dealing with and clearing any/or all the stresses of the day just passed? Nurturing your body, completing your day and preparing for the next, rather than reaching for that glass of wine, beer or spirit to “take the edge off,” “forget about the day,” or “put the day behind you”? Maybe going for a walk, talking with a trusted friend or partner, and de-briefing the day and/or eating a light and nourishing meal instead?

What if true responsibility was in how you put your body and being to sleep at night, completely wound down and in an environment that supported deep rest? Instead of working from bed on emails, the Internet or social media, or falling asleep in front of the Television, Netflix and the like.

What if true responsibility was how you begin your day at home, before you even leave for the workplace? Rising early so there is plenty of time to get ready without any rush or anxiety, maybe completing some outstanding work from the day before or preparing for the day ahead? Going for a walk or visiting the gym, building a body that was ‘fit for life’s requirements’ and could enjoy the day without the need for stimulants like sugar, caffeine and salt. Having time to enjoy a shower or bath and dressing for work. Spending time with your loved ones, eating a healthy and supportive breakfast and preparing an equally yummy and supportive lunch box.

What if true responsibility involved how you conducted yourself in the workplace; not what tasks you completed, but how you went about completing them? That you were consciously present in all your movements so that you were able to bring complete focus and dedication to each task, along with a commitment to each and every task, not seeing any part as less, or more, important than the other.

What if true responsibility involved how you are in relationships? That you treated everyone as an equal from those less experienced than you, or more senior in their position and including those that had more or less tenure with the company. What if each person was equally accountable, regardless of their position? What if every single person pulled their weight, worked collaboratively without blame for another, nor apathy for the task at hand? Working with the understanding that every single person in a company is needed and without the full commitment and unity of all, no real success can be had.

What if true responsibility was all about being the real you and bringing your all to each moment in your day at work?

If responsibility in the workplace was much more than ticking the boxes of our job requirements and turning up to work on time, and more about how we lived as a whole, then we can see that our home life, social life and work life is no different. In fact one impacts the other, and how we are in each area of life then impacts all the people in our lives.

One thing is for certain; everything that we do, say, think and feel has an impact on everyone we come into contact with, and beyond. That is, imagine what it is like for you when you have had a ‘bad day’ at work – you’re tired from the night before, have unresolved conflict with another, or are sick and run down from poor diet and lack of nutrition and so on and so on. How do you then interact with everyone you come in contact with? Now imagine, if most of us are having a bad day – how many more people get affected by this?

It is only reasonable to say then that true responsibility in the workplace is more about how we are within ourselves, and the quality in which we go about our day, not what we do.

By Terri-Anne Connors, aged 40, Melbourne, VIC

Related Reading:
Taking responsibility at work to a whole new level
True Leadership & Teamwork – Talk to an Ant
Nature – Life – Responsibility

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679 thoughts on “Responsibility in the Workplace

  1. Nothing escapes if we want to bring in a responsibility factor to any part of our everyday life. It is not a part time exercise, true responsibility considers the interconnectedness of the all. I don’t know exactly who, what and how the way I brush my teeth would be affecting, but it does. Everything has consequences, we are living amidst the aftermath of what has been lived before.

  2. Such a great Article. Imagine if we were taught this responsibility from a young age. So by the time we are 15 and about to start our first job, we already have an understanding of how best to go about it.

  3. Each time I read this article and the simplicity of what it shares. I stop and take stock of how we give such little credence to ‘how’ we do things, yet it’s is in this ‘how’ that responsibility shines its truth.

  4. True responsibility is an all encompassing awareness that every facet of our life contributes to the overall equation of quality. Thus how we live at home feeds the quality of how we work, and vice versa, our quality of work feeds the quality of how we live at home. Then there is the quality of how we drive ourselves in our car to and from work also contributes to how we are in both places and so on…. How can they not – it is all one life.

  5. Responsibility which truly honours all is huge, for instead as a society we have comfortably watered down what being responsible is to merely paying our bills, eating healthy etc. When a person does these things we consider them responsible, yet perhaps we ought to re-consider that there is far more to responsibility than this…

  6. Thank you Terri-Anne for your sharing. From what I have experienced in the workplace over many years is as you say that we need to be self aware first and that is part of the “responsibility in the Workplace” that you speak of.

  7. I think responsibility is something we can continually develop – in the smallest of details of how we care for ourself and others and how we express ourselves, it’s something we can keep unfolding and become more aware of and the impact that this has on everyone around us.

  8. Responsibility takes on its true form when we introduce the science and religion of energy – that we are all connected, and that everything we do effects everyone else, whether we are aware of it or not.

  9. The more consistently we live from a deep quality and connection with ourselves the more we naturally embrace responsibility and our understanding and awareness of what this truly means.

  10. It is easy to compartmentalise life and believe that what we do at home does not affect us at work but really that is impossible and everything we do or choose in our so called ‘private lives’ has an impact on our ‘public lives’ so really it is all one life.

  11. It seems that we can look good on the surface with say the perfect clothes, hair and makeup, turn up on time and act interested in our job, and generally that is all that is required, but like this blog is offering maybe there is more of us that we can bring to any situation. What is considered the ‘Norm’ is short changing us and from my experience people are finding that difficult these days, and as an example not using their mobile phones to go onto social media during work hours – this has resulted in some firms banning mobile phones at work.

  12. Responsibility is a series of movements made to bring quality to our daily living and the true support and love for ourselves and our workmates is then felt in every move we make everyday not just at work but in every moment. Now that’s pretty cool, as we are then the CEO’s of our own companies i.e our bodies and we have the responsibility only to ourselves to bring to understanding, respect and love from our connection to who we are.

  13. A true job interview would start with the applicant talking about his/her life outside of work because it says much about the person. It is interesting though, that these things are not usual part of it because this is socially accepted as being ‘a private matter’, one that is of ‘no incumbency for the job’. Yet, this is not true at all. Beliefs and labels like this one only helps us to live in a way where we can protect lifestyles that are not only deeply self-harming but also that have deleterious effects in terms of responsibility at work the day after. So, employers have two choices: be irresponsible and play ball with such accepted social beliefs and later have to cope with irresponsibility or, be responsible and later enjoy the benefits of responsibility.

  14. It is great to appreciate and to accept that everything is connected and our working day cannot be separated from our living way at all other times. Our investment in living who we are will be felt by all others and will serve to inspire, unify and reflect a true way forth for all/

  15. I completely agree with this blog and continue to refine how I live as every part affects every other aspect of my life. Sadly though I see on a daily basis the belief that work is separate from all other parts and as such everything that is not about the action/job is disregarded, especially the being and body performing the task.

  16. This highlights 2 things; firstly the extent to which true responsibility can offer evolution and relationships within the workplace, and secondly, it highlights how some of the basic fundamentals are not being seen in the workplace. And yet I love what you share – could the basic stuff be a by-product of true responsibility. And is it possible that as we haven’t really felt what true responsibility is, we let things slip away?

  17. When you ask us to imagine what it would be like if we knew everyone was struggling with unresolved stuff and how that might affect everyone, it’s easy because we’re all subject to that all the time, we’re just not aware of it because it’s so accepted. Imagine normal meant the opposite? Why is that such a foreign concept to us?

  18. Yes very much so as you say Terri-Anne, and then if we don’t want to be responsible we have to change the meaning of the word responsibility to just being the things we do and not the quality we are bringing to everything.

    1. One may wonder just how many other words we have conveniently changed the meanings of within society to suit our irresponsible ways.

  19. Bringing the real me has been a huge undertaking when compared to the shadow of my former self that I used to live with. What is truly amazing is how much deeper that continues to get, and with a limitless depth that calls me and inspires me further.

  20. Responsibility is limitless and is only capped by the conditions we place upon ourselves and our willingness to bring our all.

  21. Your description of a deeper level of responsibility for going to work makes total sense, as it would be hard to do all of the generic “responsible” things at work if we weren’t allowing ourselves to clear at home before and after work, and living in a way which is caring and nururing for ourselves.

  22. mmm this is still one I do! ..’Instead of working from bed on emails.’ So as others have shared in comments true responsibility is actually deeply caring and loving ourselves knowing that how we are and how we live with ourselves in every single way is then a quality in which we bring to every other person and task in and throughout our every day.

  23. ‘One thing is for certain; everything that we do, say, think and feel has an impact on everyone we come into contact with, and beyond.’ Deepening our awareness and truly considering this means is very sobering, but also carries the joy of knowing the amazing opportunities we have to inspire and imprint.

  24. ‘What if true responsibility was all about being the real you and bringing your all to each moment in your day at work?’ For me this sums up beautifully true responsibility in the work place, and importantly not to leave it in the work place, but to live it in all areas of our lives.

  25. When we are responsible at work teamwork becomes must more inspiring and enjoyable especially if others are taking up their own responsibility.

  26. ‘What if true responsibility involved how you are in relationships?’ With true responsibility in our relationships there would be no gossip anymore and we would appreciate one another for the quality we bring and we would pull each other up when needed. There would be no competition and yes I could go on and on but basically when love rules everything changes and we’ll work together as equal human beings.

  27. The only way that our current systems are going to change is if we accept our responsibility to live the change that we want.

  28. True responsibility is making space for all that needs to be taken care of, and trusting that there is always space for whatever needs to be done. It involves a surrender to who we are, an allowing of ourselves to live as we naturally are, and asking for support when we need it. Responsibility isn’t about trying to take on the world by ourselves – we are endlessly supported, when we ask for it and allow it.

  29. Thank you. There are still areas in my life that don’t flow so well and I can see that I am really not getting enough support with those and could ask for help more often instead of thinking I have to do it on my own – also supporting myself by being more diligent and deeply caring of myself.

  30. Is having clean hair and make up responsible if we are treating others abusively .. in any way or go into jealously and comparison? Or make things about profit rather than people. As you say true responsibility in being how you are in all of our relationships across the board as well as life is still something I am still very much learning.

  31. Actually you can say that life is one continuous, evolving from one moment into the next and that everything we do in any moment is the foundation for the next. If we can understand that this is how life unfolds itself to us, as a continuous learning and development from one moment into the other there comes a responsibility to life that is empowering not only our whole being but also how we will live in our societies as a whole.

  32. Responsibility in the workplace is no different to the responsibility we have in life itself. If we go about our day half-baked as it were, as a result of our lifestyle choices, we are not bringing the full us to the day. And when we do this at work, it is the same thing. The responsibility we ultimately have is to be the full us, and to bring this to others.

  33. “What if true responsibility was all about being the real you and bringing your all to each moment in your day at work?” This is a fascinating notion to sit with, to explore, to see what pictures, ideals/beliefs come into play that stop you from being the real you at work, and bringing your all to each moment.

  34. Responsibility in the workplace starts with self, as the more we build a foundation of self-acceptance and care the more this quality is expressed in everything that we do, so work then becomes something that is no longer done as an obligation but something that gives back to us rejuvenating our bodies when there is purpose in what we do.

  35. “What if true responsibility was all about being the real you and bringing your all to each moment in your day at work?” how amazing to know this is how worthy I am, bringing all of me is true service for mankind.

  36. “What if true responsibility was all about being the real you and bringing your all to each moment in your day at work?” And to every area of our lives? Responsibility is the new black.

  37. As a society we tend to equate responsibility to doing things like paying our bills, eating healthy and going to work on time. But this is not what responsibility is at all if a true review of what this means is considered…

  38. It is always about the quality first.
    The harmony we can choose with our body is the harmony we emanate into the world.

  39. Being responsible means breathing our own breath and not the emotions, pictures, confusion, ideals or beliefs that we are surrounded by and may still have lurking in our bodies. Being responsible means we let our hearts and bodies lead the way and inform our thinking. Being responsible means that we express honestly if not truthfully and we allow love to be our foundation. It is an ongoing process and requires our conscious presence whatever space we are in, home, work or play for in truth there is no delineation and we can bring ourselves in our fullness to all areas and as we do so we see that one supports the other because in truth it is us supporting ourselves to live who we truly are.

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