WORK-LIFE BALANCE / AUG. 15, 2014
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The Buck Should Always Stop With You

In your life, your business, and your education, there is a constant that must be upheld; taking full responsibility.

Leader or not, you will find that people are more willing to work with you if they know that you are willing to accepted responsibility for actions of yourself, your organization, or other individuals.

Why Accepting Responsibility is Key

To start, let us use an example of an employee in a clothing store. You walk to that employee and explain that you were in yesterday and purchased an item based on a promise of some sort from a salesperson that is not currently working. If the person you are bringing this particular issue to tells you that they can’t do anything about it, how likely are you to return to that store all together? If you are like most, the likelihood is low.

That employee, should instead take full responsibility for the mistake and fix your issue without complaint. James Cash Penney said it best, “I never trust an executive who tends to pass the buck. Nor would I want to deal with him as a customer or a supplier.” As the founder of J.C. Penney he found brilliant success for a very long amount of time. While the store is not as financially successful as it once was, it is still a brand that most people recognize. They grew to fame and fortune because of their belief in how others should be treated.

You will, of course, be limited in your power to deal with certain situations in business. Your employer will make it clear what you are able to do within your own level of responsibility. With that said, many employers are now turning towards this particular idea of treating their customers and the simple fact of the matter is they are doing so because it works.

If you are unable to accept responsibility, or you prefer to pass it on to someone else, you are not going to build trust with clients, customers or anyone you work with. Generally, they don’t care who did what wrong, they simply want to know that they are working with someone that will handle whatever needs to be handled.

Mistakes Are Common

People make mistakes every day. I’m not sure I know anyone that has gone through an entire day without making at least a minor mistake. So how you react to those mistakes will tell others a great deal about who you are as a person. In relation, it will also tell them a great deal about the employer you represent.

If you are looking for more respect or prestige in your career, it is key that you show your employers what you are willing to do for the company. In my life working with customers I was yelled at, cussed out and threatened based on mistakes that others made.

Early on, I did tell them they would need to wait for the person that made the mistake to return, but I learned pretty fast that taking responsibility and letting them complain about the issue gave our store, and our employer, a better relationship with the customer. This is true in all lines of business, and while you can’t make your business practice it, you can set an example for those you work with. Don’t be afraid of taking responsibility for those you work with. Leading by example means that they are more likely to do the same for you.

Image Source: Excuse

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