Personal Responsibility For Your Professional Conduct


“People are always blaming circumstance for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances.” George Bernard Shaw

Personal Responsibility

Is this taking personal responsibility for your professional behaviour:

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You are at work. Something has happened. You messed up. But hey, John messed up last week, and he managed to wangle his way out of it. So if you could just blame this one on time constraints, or perhaps Jane, as she didn’t finish the draft correctly. Or maybe when James didn’t come back to you within the half hour you specified, that would have delayed you also, right?

Wrong! If you mess up, are late submitting a project, or get something wrong – It’s your fault! – the sooner you own up to it, the sooner something can be done to rectify the issue!

A “Blame” culture is all too prevalent in organisations in Ireland. But it is not just up to the Owner or Managing Director to instil a healthy culture in an organisation.

Everyone has a personal responsibility for his or her professional conduct. Consider the potential cost to an organisation if there is a blame culture:

  • People running around looking for scapegoats, be they colleagues or other factors
  • Procrastinating, distractions, deadlines being missed
  • Fear of sharing ideas, fear of being creative
  • Managers or the company itself being blamed for problems
  • Lack of insight for Managers
  • Missed opportunities
  • Endless committee and board meetings

The Blame Game

Blame cultures are contagious – they can spread within organisations through customers, partners or other outside influences. Positive thinking results in positive behaviour. Behaviour is seen (actions speak louder than words) but does not define a person. Irish companies and organisations (especially public organisations) need to instil personal responsibility in their employees, and not fill the space with committees and boards so blame cannot be placed on one person.

Managing a team is not leading. Leading is achieved through vision, example and empowerment, and like charity begins with self.

If you have an influencing say in the running of a business, think about what culture you are supporting. If you find the points above resonate with you somehow, start changing your behaviour and lead by example.

Are you wondering right now how you could get “the others” to change? Stop! Concentrate on your personal responsibility, and how you can change.

What can you do right now?

Ask yourself “what can I take personal responsibility for today?” Question how you look to others, are they seeing your responsibility shine through?

What evidence are you providing to demonstrate that you are supporting personal responsibility?

What goals have you set recently, and are you prepared to be held accountable for achieving those goals?

I would love to hear your ideas, especially your answers to any of the questions above. So leave a comment below…

4 thoughts on “Personal Responsibility For Your Professional Conduct

  • March 18, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    I always believe that whatever you accept and agree like work. You must take responsibility of what you accept.

  • January 25, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Great blog, have re posted it.
    I’ve set myself SMART goals for the coming year.
    I’ve pinned them up at home and have talked with
    Colleagues about them to make myself more accountable
    for reaching them.

    • January 30, 2013 at 11:07 am

      Hi Niki,
      Thank you for your kind words and taking the time to comment. Congratulations on your personal responsibility for setting goals and putting responsibility checks in place.
      Have a look at a previous post I did on SMART Goal Setting. Best wishes for 2013!

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