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Responsibility – PERIOD.

In Brian Tracy’s book entitled, The Power of Discipline, 7 Ways It Can Change Your Life, he states that “accepting responsibility is one of the hardest of all disciplines, but without it, success is impossible”.

So, here’s a scenario:

You walk into work as a newly selected manager of a brand new department that opened last week. Some of the employees assigned to the new area when it opened, greet you and begin briefing you on the latest issues. One of the employees is eager to unload their frustration about the opening last week and the former manager walking out on the job because they didn’t get the anticipated promotion to division manager. The inventory supervisor advises that the expected merchandise shipments didn’t arrive on schedule over the weekend and none of the products in the Sunday sales ad will be available for customers today. To make matters worse, you are advised that three employees called stating they would be late due to a major accident blocking all lanes leading to the building. As you look out the window, you see customers gathering and patiently waiting for the doors to open.

If you currently hold or have been in a position of leadership, there’s no doubt that this scenario is familiar in one way or another. However, even though the scenarios may be different, more complex, personal versus professional, life threatening or not, when faced with situations, the decision to standup and be responsible or, retreat and leave the decision to someone else, must be determined. Failure to be responsible results in diminishing returns and deterioration of character in the eyes of others.

Looking back at the scenario, the new manager would definitely be justified in being upset with somebody and walk out through the waiting crowd. It appears that it’s a setup for failure right out the gate! Or, is it? Maybe, it’s an opportunity to make a difference and demonstrate what authentic leadership looks like to those watching. What would happen if the new manager was able to successfully handle each situation, including the disappointed customers, and the employees leave saying, “Wow, today turned out better than expected!”?

Taking responsibility is the primary key to success. It has nothing to do with whether or not one is at fault or initiated a problem, but everything to do with what one chooses to do about it.

How well do you know yourself?

How well do others know you?

How well do you know your employees?

Want to know more about this topic? Contact Janet Ford at or visit our website at


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