Have You Taken The “I” Out Of Responsibility?

Have You Taken The “I” Out Of Responsibility?

Did You or Didn´t You?

For some reason we have developed the habit to link responsibility with terms as guilt, punishment even yelling, maybe we have gone blind about recognizing the efforts of others because we are supposed to always do a good job.

I remember in a former position I was in when a supervisor “called out” a coworker to the attention of everyone else simply because he didn´t finish a task on time. He replied: Do you want it done right or fast? The supervisor answered: Both. Who was checking on you? Who was in charge for this? And then the silence.

What about if it happened the other way? Let´s imagine this coworker had the job on time a perfectly done. Then the supervisor would say: Great job! And probably a couple of necks could arise saying: He´s on my team or I selected him for the task, etc.

I think this happened for the wrong assumption that we have about “Responsibility” as we react on our emotions. We have learned to classify them as Positive and Negative, keeping in mind that we don´t want to deal with undesired emotions.

Many times we don´t have control over our reactions and this can affect us and our environment with prejudicial effects.

Act, Don´t React!

When we react, others are in charge of how we feel and what we do! A sure-fire way to rewire ourselves can be giving a new meaning to the word “Responsibility”. Dr. Stephen Covey does it on his book 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE. He remade the word making you Response-able, this mean you are someone who can make things happens or at least having a piece of the result.


This new concept gives you a new insight. Why? Because you can choose to react or act to an event like the one described above. This gives you 2 choices:

  • React by hiding, blaming denying or making excuses because “I” was ashamed
  • Act in a response-able way acknowledging the issue at hand, even if “I” wasn´t the one performing it but “I” was the one who selected the individual to complete the task

This new insight gives us the tools to make things go the way it was expected. We learn to measure and know our limits.

If we keep removing the “I” in on our responsibilities we truly are not avoiding anything. We are suppressing ourselves from the flow of events and therefore from existence. The memory remains and a little voice will be there telling you: I was responsible, I was, I…

Albert Einstein said: “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” And facing the facts, it´s never a mistake if we learn from them! Sometimes they can be embarrassing, but we can recognize this emotion and choose to learn or feel guilty.


Your job?

  • To approach the next client or the next project knowing the pointers to keep in mind
  • Follow instructions or making notes is a way to keep the “I” in the equation
  • Be aware in the way “I” am making a remark/comment about someone is a way to help and not by looking who to blame

Are you taking the “I” out of responsibility? How does the “I” help your team? Please share your thoughts on the comments.

Javier Dominguez – Design Professional

Gould Design, Inc.