It can be quite difficult to get employees to admit when they’ve done something wrong. However, the ability to accept personal responsibility is one of the most important skills your team can have.
As a leader, it’s your responsibility to teach it to them.
Through shared experiences, open communication, and leading by example, you can encourage your team to be more accountable.
Read on if you’d like to learn how to get your team to stop playing the blame game and, instead, take responsibility for their actions.
Give Them Responsibility
The easiest way to get your team to take responsibility for themselves and their work is to straight up give them responsibility. Teach them how to be responsible by giving them work that gives them no choice but to learn how to.
You can do this by allowing them to have more input and letting them set their standards at work. It’s important that your team believes in what they’re doing and believes that you trust them. Thinking you trust them is key to them taking responsibility.
“When team members don’t agree with a leader’s approach to managing the team, they are less likely to take responsibility for tasks. People are less likely to commit because they are doing something they don’t believe in.” – Thoughtful Leader
If the work you do with your team is seen as a collaboration, a contract of trust, employees will be more likely to share in the risk as well as the reward.
Make it Safe to Speak Up
Everyone makes mistakes, so don’t judge them for it. It’s important to create a safe space where employees feel comfortable to come clean when issues arise if you want to encourage responsibility.
“Although some leaders may fear that their employees will rock the boat by speaking up, in reality, those workers are often helping avoid a shipwreck.” – Strategy & Video
While some mistakes may and do have harsher consequences than others, let employees know that the ultimate outcome for them admitting their errors will be more respect from you and their peers for speaking up. Speaking up when you’re in the wrong can be scary, but it’s a respectable thing to have the strength to do so.
Remind Them That Taking Responsibility Isn’t Always Bad
Often, conversations about taking personal responsibility only discuss the negative impacts of taking ownership of your mistakes. However, there are many positive reasons why being accountable for your actions is the more beneficial route.
Some of the positive impacts of taking responsibility include:
- Higher levels of self-esteem
- Greater opportunities for future success
- An easier time learning from your mistakes
- More trust and respect from colleagues and leaders
- Improved interpersonal relationships
- Increased confidence when taking on future leadership roles
“A big reason why you are able to admit fault is that you recognize that once you admit what you have done wrong, you can work to make it better, and so you are not threatened by admitting mistakes.” – Greater Good
When you remind your team of the long-term benefits of being responsible, they will be more likely to admit when they have made a mistake of their own, so long as you’re willing to do the same, which leads to the next point…
Lead by Example
Why should any of your employees feel the need to take responsibility for their errors if you won’t? One of the most important things to do as a leader is to lead by example, especially when it comes to taking responsibility.
“Don’t ask a subordinate to do something you are not willing to do… Set an example for others as a good manager and leader.” – University Of Notre Dame
Fear of consequences or judgment is at the top of the list of reasons why people try to shirk responsibility. However, mistakes are essential to business growth since they have a lot to teach us.
Taking responsibility challenges everyone to be more understanding of themselves and others. That is the best way to build trust among your employees and get them to trust you. So, follow these four tips on encouraging responsibility and see how well they work!
How do you encourage your employees to take responsibility? Let us know in the comments below!
If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send an email, and my team will get in touch with you!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2019 and has been edited for accuracy and comprehensiveness.