5 Reasons To Take Responsibility For Others

Recently, Paul Green of Morning Star, the progressive tomato products company, noted that:

“Individuals in great organizations take total responsibility for their total   organization, which extends to all associates (co-workers). Ultimately, the organization is an abstraction. The only things that are real are the individuals who make up the organization.”

In many work cultures “responsibility” has become overly associated with the concept of a burden, enabling behavior, and action to be avoided in almost all situations. Besides, aren’t we supposed to take care of ourselves and let other people mind their own business?

There is another definition of responsibility: a duty as a member of a team to help others be successful. That’s a major reason teams exist – the integration of individual and group goals to increase the likelihood of success. Consider these five reasons to take responsibility for others:

  • When you take responsibility for another, the vision and mission of a company will be clearer. You are less worried about pre-defined roles and more focused on doing what is necessary to help someone else be integrated in a team effort so everyone can cross the finish line.
  • When you take responsibility for someone else you will likely learn something new about them – an unknown expertise, a better way to work with them, or an innovative proposal for the larger team. The act of reaching out can open a critical door.
  • When you take responsibility for another you help shape a cultural norm that rewards the behavior. Rather than “minding my own business” it’s more about “let’s get everyone involved in a cohesive team effort.”
  • When you take responsibility for someone else you stand out as a leader, which increases your professional options and helps the organization.
  • Lastly, when you take responsibility for someone else you build value for yourself and others. If you do that well, everyone benefits.

While you will not find this at dictionary.com, “responsibility” for another is about the freedom to do what is ethical and necessary to build excellence and reciprocal benefit in an organization. When you see someone struggling at work, or otherwise, consider the possibilities for them, you, and everyone else.