Responsibility sucks, THIS is how to live with it.

Do you take responsibility or avoid what happens to you?

Relationships and responsibility go hand in hand, whether the relationship is personal, business, business to business or whatever, all relationships reflect trust and with trust comes responsibility.


There are three stages of responsibility that we need to take action on;

1 — Extreme responsibility
2 — Pick your fights
3 — Not my circus.

Before you take any responsibility or avoidance of things we need to decide if they fall within your scope. The problem with this one word definition of scope is that you scope boundary's will shift along with the emotional and physical responsibility of different relationships.

Extreme responsibility

Extreme responsibility is about taking 100% ownership of the situation whatever the cause and effect may be. This is where you as the individual understand that you are responsible for how the relationship unfolds, and what situations occur because of the relationship.

When I was younger, there was always a few people that I knew a night out with them would be fun, Extreme responsibility is about how and when you commit to spending your time (the most valuable thing you have) If you know that some people are going to cause drama, take responsibility for your involvement in that. When something doesn't go to plan, and you had a hand in it. Take responsibility.

There is a bit of a urban legend that surrounds IBM Founder Tom Watson, about a young employee that was brought up to him after a mistake that cost the company millions, the employee attempted to resign but was instead told that the mistake was an education and no one would ever make that mistake again. When we face the fear and take responsibility, I’m not saying that nothing bad will happen but the process of manning up is likely to be respected.

Pick you fights

Pick you fights, if your a parent, you may have already realized this one, not all battles need to be fought and won.

Micromanaging managers need to learn this. I had a team leader once that felt it necessary to yell over the call center about how many calls were waiting, The statistics were of course on display for everyone to see and what we were all monitored for. It was a pointless action on her behalf and something that created more tension in an already strung out workplace.

By comparison, another team leader would watch the stats quietly and then go and check directly on the staff member who was on that long call and check if any help was needed. No guesses required to know who was more respected and less mocked.

Picking your fights is about how you approach things as much as what it is you approach. A different approach is where the relationship magic can happen. That friend that is always drama, consider the setting you go out with them in, does a group work better, or perhaps the location you go?

Not my circus

Not my circus, not my monkeys not my flees. A lot of stress in the workplace is simply because people are outside of scope. Is that thing that you are handling really your issue to be doing?

I work as one week on and a few off in a remote service station. because of the way I take extreme responsibility for all things during the week that I’m out there I find things coming to me that are not in my scope. In fact its my week off and it’s not my circus, the problems are not my monkeys to control and the issues that are often very small flees, they are also not mine.

Quick Warning

The not my circus philosophy can get you into trouble if you over use it, but it is your best defense from others dumping there issues on you.

Responsibility is not all way's yours, should someone else be taking that on? Is that outside of your scope? Ask yourself if you are taking on someones else responsibility?

When we take on something that isn’t ours its a sure fire way to start the process of burn out.

My wife had recently changed her roll at her workplace and is now bringing home stress of trying to do two jobs, but one of those jobs is not hers to be doing. Sure there is the feeling that people will be blaming her for failures within that department now, but the fact is its not her department any more.

When you are feeling overwhelmed with responsibility do a quick check as to where that responsibility belongs, and perhaps if you need a daily reminder try the mug, or get it for someone who takes on to much.

Scott Fleming

I am a Counselor, Coach, Business trainer, passionate about getting people to a new level of productivity.