Responsibility: Using the ‘R’ Word in Business

Responsibility: Using the ‘R’ Word in Business

Responsibility is a word that is used a lot in business, and one that I am sure I use every day. What do I mean though by responsibility? We all give the word different meaning, but I simply mean responsibility as it sounds; our ability to respond.

The context I hold is that we respond from our values, and we react from our feelings. An example we can all relate to is when we hear criticism from another. Next time this happens notice how you feel when you hear it. Do you feel grateful for the feedback or are you angry, hurt or resentful? If it’s the latter, that’s okay, as you have simply given the feedback a meaning about you, and as a result taken it personally. Basically you have fallen into the common fear that we are not enough.

Now that you are noticing how you feel though, try not to react. Take time out if need be to work through that feeling.

Try and find the meaning that you have given the comment so you can understand what it is about for you. Know that you are enough, and connect to the truth in the comment and the gratitude of the lesson in you moving forward.

Having not reacted, you can now respond. As mentioned you respond from your values, which is in essence how you choose to be. If you want to be authentic, grateful, empathetic and kind, respond from that place. This will shape your behaviour to be aligned to how you want to show up, as opposed to reacting from your feelings of hurt or resentment.

Having a business where you respond rather than react to those around you will have you operating as a true leader, and develop a culture aligned to who you really want to be.


This article was featured in the May issue of HBR