Person pointing finger to illustrate blame and taking responsibility.

It can be difficult to get employees to admit when they’ve done something wrong. However, the ability to accept personal responsibility is one of the most important skills your team can have.

Through shared experiences, open communication, and leading by example, you can encourage your team to be more accountable.

Here’s how to get your team to stop playing the blame game and take responsibility for their actions.

Encourage Responsibility By Giving it

The easiest way to get your team to take responsibility is simply to give it to them. You can do this by allowing them to have more input and letting them set standards at work. It’s important that your team believes in what they are doing.

“When team members don’t agree with a leader’s approach to managing the team, they are less likely to take responsibility for tasks. People are less likely to commit because they are doing something they don’t believe in.” – Thoughtful Leader

If the work you do with your team is seen as a collaboration, employees will be more likely to share in the risk as well as the reward.

Encourage Responsibility By Making It Safe To Speak Up

Everyone makes mistakes, so don’t judge them. It’s important to create a safe space so that employees know they can come clean when issues arise.

“Although some leaders may fear that their employees will rock the boat by speaking up, in reality, those workers are often helping avoid a shipwreck.” – Strategy & Video

While some mistakes might have harsher consequences than others, let employees know that the ultimate outcome will be more respect from their peers for speaking up.

Remind Your Team That Taking Responsibility Isn’t Always Bad

Conversations about taking personal responsibility often only discuss the negative impacts of taking ownership. However, there are many positive reasons why being accountable is the more beneficial route.

The positive impacts of taking responsibility include:

  • higher levels of self-esteem
  • greater opportunities to succeed
  • more trust and respect from colleagues
  • improved interpersonal relationships
  • increased confidence when taking on leadership roles

When you remind your team of the long term benefits of being responsible, they will be more likely to admit when they have made a mistake.

“A big reason why you are able to admit fault is that you recognize that once you admit what you have done wrong, you can work to make it better, and so you are not threatened by admitting mistakes.”  – Greater Good

Encourage Responsibility Through Leading By Example

As I’ve often said, inspiring others to take action is all about leading by example.

“Don’t ask a subordinate to do something you are not willing to do… Set an example for others as a good manager and leader.” – University Of Notre Dame

Fear of consequences or judgment top the list of reasons why people try to shirk responsibility. However, mistakes are essential to business growth since they have a lot to teach us.

Taking responsibility challenges us to be more understanding of ourselves and others and is the best way to build trust among your employees.

If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send an email, and my team will get in touch with you!