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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751 thoughts on “Responsibility in the Workplace

  1. When a job becomes the way to fit in, to tick the boxes or just to earn money, what do we actually delivering? It is no surprising that many feels stressed, exhausted and anxious because there is a constant striving for the outcomes but not a holding, not a nurturing way of being that allows the needed regeneration of the body. There is more to life than boring days at work and the excitment of the weekend and holidays, there is a life to be lived in full cause who we are, what we bring from our delicious presence is very unique and valuable. It is there to be claimed and delivered all the time.

  2. These days I’m having very busy days at work. Listen and honoruing my body is supporting me very much to work with a new sense of lightness and ease. I feel more steady, committed and joyful everytime I don’t give my power to the stresses and pressures of the job. Finding my rhythm is opening me up a new way of being that feels very beautiful and nurturing. This choice makes me see what true responsibility is about.

  3. There is no On and Off switch of responsibility. You though can choose: either step into your power of reflection of moving on or one of aligning to most of the people align to: comfort.We are all the time role models, no matter how mere the situation may look like. Do you have a switch or not is the question.

    1. ‘We are all the time role models’ That’s very true Stefanie, and is our responsibility to choose what we present in every step, action, movement…thanks for sharing, definitely the beauty that our absolut presence reflects is there to be embraced and claimed.

  4. Being the real me in life is a loving work in progress. I can stumble over wanting to be seen in a certain way and living up to someone’s (or mine) expectation that is not actually true. Or living from these pictures about how I should be a friend/manager/daughter etc…

    1. I really like that Annelies. Even though you can be very purposeful in an environment you can still measure what is important and what not and see it more as a chore than part of the whole job. I will be even more aware of any kind of measuring after reading your comment.

  5. “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.” This level of responsibility used to scare me but not any more, in fact it is a joy to live this.

  6. Everything in our life and how we are affects everything in life. Although on the surface it might seem like we live life in compartments, but really that is an illusion. We live one life, that’s it. Therefore the more care we bring into any aspect of our life we infuse through the rest.

  7. It’s awesome how much our connection with our bodies, establishing and deepening a rhythm, can make such a profound difference to the quality of our work, to our colleagues and our workplace.

  8. Thank you Terri-Anne. To me responsibility is taking the full me to all that I do, including my work place, and expressing my all in all that I do.

  9. Once we know this to be true . . . “everything that we do, say, think and feel has an impact on everyone we come into contact with, and beyond.” . . . we fully understand our responsibility in the world is to be all that we are.

  10. Treating everyone as equal is part of our responsibility in the work place as is treating people with respect, when we take on responsibility we can’t cherry pick what we would like to be responsible for, and the quality of responsibility comes from the quality of our livingness.

  11. When the meaning of true responsibility is fully understood, we realise that there is in fact no end point to where we begin and stop being responsible, as the quality in which one moment is lived is what we bring with us to the next moment. And so, the quality in which we brush our teeth, for example, is the quality that we embody and walks with us to the car, then to work, then to our relationships. When we do realise the impact we have in the world through which we move, responsibility becomes a joy and a beautiful awareness of the power we all hold to bring and live with the greatest integrity and love through our everyday living.

  12. A big part of workplace responsibility is to be all we can be at work, same as everywhere else.

  13. The problem is that as children, we are taught rudimentary responsibility by adults who do not live responsibly themselves. I remember meany times being told “do as I say, not as I do” by an adult. This does not inspire anyone.

  14. The great thing about all that you have written here, is how all of this responsibly can actually lead to a more playful, caring and harmonious workplace.

  15. True responsibility to me, means caring: taking care of the details, of everything I come into contact with, of every interaction, movement and moment, to the best of my ability. It’s not about trying to make everything perfect, because that perfection then becomes a distraction that takes us away from focusing on the bigger picture, but it does feel like true responsibility is about quality: making sure we are always aware of the energetic quality that we’re in, and how this affects everything we do.

  16. I would say that true responsibility is realizing that first and foremost we have to bring multi dimensionality to the workplace, and then make it about the completing all the tasks that are required.

  17. It is our responsibility to support ourselves in a way that our bodies are able to do the work that we do, for example in my job I am required to walk a lot therefore it is my responsibility to be fit enough to sustain long hours on my feet.

    1. Yes one of my jobs requires me to be on my feet just about all day, and I am now feeling that I could treat my legs- and feet- a lot more lovingly and really appreciate how they hold me and support me during this time

  18. A big responsibility at work is to enjoy work – that may not be easy or at times impossible but it is far more available than we may realise and sometimes simple changes can make a huge difference.

  19. Learning that we are responsible for every moment of the day, how we wake how we put ourselves to bed and everything in-between would take responsibility to a whole new level, not just in the work place but in every part of our life

  20. Yes how would it be if everyone truly loves their job because they feel great because they took a deep level of care for themselves and does not drag their feet to ‘just do it’? This would totally change the workplaces everywhere, it would change how the world feels.

  21. All of what is mentioned here is a responsible employee. I would also add a vital key to glueing all that together would be appreciating as much as possible in each moment all that you do to be responsible. For without the confirmation of all that you bring it will be the same day repeating itself with a challenge that could knock you over. Holding your values firm in your body it is easy to come back to that known space.

  22. Is work something we do to just tick the box and get the pay day? If so then we will not understand how we can be the change we want to see in our lives and in the world. Yet if we see that our work is an extension of how we live then we might be open to understanding the contribution we make when we embrace the small, seemingly unimportant jobs with equal importance.

  23. Thank you Terri-Anne Connors. In one of my workplaces I always arrive about 30mins early to set up the space and prepare whatever needs doing but in another I get there just on time nearly every time. What if I were to go in early in this job too? It is something I have considered but not put into practise and I am feeling now that it would set me and the place up for the day. I have thought of cutting my hours down in this job but maybe what I need to do is actually increase them, and by bringing more attention to all the things you have mentioned here in your blog I can see my work there becoming much more enjoyable.

  24. The quality in which we go about our every move in our day right up until we lay our head on the pillow is all paramount to our well-being and the well-being of everyone around us.

  25. Some great realisations about true responsibility and the quality in which it is possible for us to build a true foundation of being that brings a fullness to everything we do and the way in which we express.

  26. Responsibility in the workplace is every moment of every day showing our consistency of love, light and brotherhood. And absolutely dedication.

  27. How we are with ourselves and the quality that we bring to each moment of our day in all that we do has an energetic ripple effect that flows out to others in either healing or harming, such is the responsibility that we all carry.

  28. All of these items are true responsibilities and it is important that the process itself is enjoyable and rewarding and perfection is not part of the design.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

    1. So true, it is not our ‘normal’. However, until we make it our normal, that is just one person, or two people like you and me, then we will continue to perpetuate the belief that there is no such thing as energy.

      1. And people can respond to energy – they experience it as much as everybody else. They may not be able to label it but responding is very normal.

  33. 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.

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

  35. `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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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).

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

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

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

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