by Ron Kurtus (revised 5 May 2013)
You may have been taught as a child to take responsibility for your actions. If you break something or do something wrong, you should not try to blame someone else. Likewise as an adult, you may be put into a position of responsibility, such that you cannot blame someone or something else if things go wrong.
Others cannot depend on you if you are an irresponsible person. Having a reputation of being responsible allows others to count on you and helps in your career.
Questions you may have are:
- What does it mean to be responsible?
- What is being irresponsible?
- How does being responsible pay?
This lesson will answer those questions.
A responsible person is one who is able to act without guidance or supervision, because he or she is accountable and answerable for his or her behavior. Such a person can be trusted or depended upon to do things on his or her own.
Such a person will follow though on obligations. Being a responsible person means you have good character.
In March 2001, a U.S. Navy submarine accidentally rammed a Japanese boat, resulting in the death of 9 passengers. Although the accident was a result of the errors of some of the submarine crew members, the commander of the sub took full responsibility for the accident.
He could have blamed others, but he had the character to say that he was in charge of the submarine and thus was responsible for what happened.
People who are irresponsible often go against the rules—often by impulse—without thinking are caring of the possible consequences.
Small children are often irresponsible. They need someone to watch over them, otherwise they may do things that they shouldn't do. The reason is because they are immature and often controlled by impulses.
When an adult worker constantly need someone to watch over him, or he will goof-off, not work at all or do the wrong thing, that worker is not considered capable of responsibility.
A teen that holds an out-of-control party at her home when her parents are gone is considered irresponsible. She uses poor judgment, goes against her parents' wishes and can't be trusted to be left home alone.
Benefits of being responsible
A person who has a reputation of being responsible is trusted to do things on his or her own, without supervision. Being trusted that way is certainly a good feeling.
Children and adults like to feel they are capable of doing things on their own. Such a feeling increases their self-esteem and self-worth.
Trust leads to promotions
A worker who is trusted can soon get assignments of greater responsibility, which will then lead to raises and promotions.
A business that has a reputation of being responsible will gain leadership in its field.
Negative side to being responsible
The negative side of being considered responsible is that if something goes wrong, that person gets the blame. It takes great character to accept the blame.
Former U.S. President Harry S Truman was known to say, "The buck stops here." That meant that workers under him may "pass the buck" or not take responsibility, but he could not, because he has the ultimate responsibility in running the Country.
Being responsible and taking responsibility for the things that may go wrong is an admirable character trait. We all dislike dealing with people who are irresponsible or who blame others. So being responsible is a character trait for which we should strive. You get a good reputation. You also feel good about yourself by having such character.
A person with a reputation of being responsible is trusted to take on difficult tasks. He or she will not blame others for any problems. Instead, the person will have the character to take full responsibility. With the risk come the rewards of self-worth and possible raises and promotions at work.
Be responsible and be trusted
Resources and references
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