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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646 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.

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