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







705 thoughts on “Responsibility in the Workplace

  1. That surely is a next level in responsibility in work, and something most people are not ready for. Management in many companies still is addressing facts like that people show-up late, managing symptoms rather than dealing underlaying root causes. Difficult item when, at least in Holland, employers are not allowed to interfere with people’s private lives outside their work.

  2. When we can let go of the old dogma’s about work being a necessity to earn money and a place where you preferably not want to be, continuous longing for the next holiday or final retirement, we will find a place where we can prosper and evolve. A place where we can learn how it is to work collectively and that the individual contribution of each employee matters, will it be the MD, CEO or the janitor. All are equally important and actually just jobs to make everything flowing in the energy we collectively bring to it and make up the whole.

  3. Terri-Ann you’ve produced a beautiful template for a job description, one that expresses inner qualities and not simply tasks to be accomplished.

  4. When we understand that all life is simply energy, there are no walls or divisions, it is easy to see how we are in one pocket affects the All. There is only ‘one life’ understanding and committing to this is true responsibility.

    1. Yes Kehinde, life has no walls or divisions and all is one life, not only that of ours personally but too with all the people we live on this planet, with nature and the planet and the stars. So yes we have a responsibility to the grander whole we are part of as we are no individuals living on our own.

  5. Terri-Anne, I love 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.’ What a great reminder, I am finding from experience that it is how I am that is the important factor and that if I am feeling well in myself, confident and playful then I have a great day and notice how much I support those I come into contact with, if I try and get as much done as possible irrelevant of my quality, going into pushing myself, then I notice that I get tired and do not truly support myself or those I work with.

  6. What this blog teaches me is that responsibility is a continuous movement every moment of the day and not something you can do or be only when it suits you or the situation is asking for it.

  7. It doesn’t work to consider life in parts – every part affects every other parts. It is very beautiful when we start taking baby steps in choosing to live with that awareness as we are basically choosing to say yes to the magnificence of what life is about.

  8. The thing is when we compartmentalise life and put more energy and focus into one particular area we can actually deplete ourselves and become overwhelmed with the most simplest of tasks in other areas.

  9. What you describe here shows that we have all that what truly supports us to live a steady and joyful life labelled as unimportant and insignificant or even boring but with that we have robbed ourselves of the fullness and joy life is (can be).

  10. So true, there is much more at play in our interactions between others than what we see on the surface. We often don’t know what is going on for someone but we feel the impact or force of what they are in. We can not have an issue with one and not expect it to impact on all.

  11. `I once compartmentalized my life: home, work, play, displaying different personas depending on who I was with and where I was. That’s all changed now, I’m one and the same where-ever I am, no masks, simply and honestly me.

  12. It is beautiful to be connected to the all knowing who I am and my quality never changes, regardless of context and place.

  13. What we have here is the potential to learn and discover what true responsibility is through our movements and relationships as they constantly reflect back what has been prepared.

  14. True responsibility in the workplace and everywhere else is energetic responsibility. This initially meant nothing to me and I suspect will mean nothing to most people, because we discount energy. We discount something that simply cannot be discounted in a world where literally everything is energy.

  15. Imagine if parents truly understood the essence of responsibility that is there when having children. The implications and the ramifications are really so profound and life changing if, if we choose to acknowledge this amazing awareness that is possible.

  16. I like the idea that what we consider to be responsibility should be turned around and considered a bare minimum and if we did so, very soon as our quality grows we would all agree that what we once considered a bare minimum is no longer acceptable even as a bare minimum. Or rather we will redefine what is considered a bare minimum upwards.

  17. Yes, we can do the tasks, but the quality of how we do them leaves the lasting imprint, and that’s the responsibility we all carry, how we are in what we do.

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