One of the biggest practices holding people back from success is a lack of ownership. Not taking personal responsibility to create better outcomes. Today we have a plethora of options available that encourage us to not take ownership. Whether we’ve been victims of circumstances outside our control or because some person or system is holding us back. It’s never been easier to justify our lack of success.
The longer we delay taking ownership, the more our dreams fade. And along the way, we lower our standards to compensate for faded dreams.
But what could happen if you started taking ownership today? The beautiful thing about life is you ALWAYS have the opportunity to start fresh. To take ownership and start a new chapter. This is what I love most about mornings, Mondays, 1st of the month, birthdays, and New Year. There are so many opportunities to take ownership and write a new chapter.
Are you practicing and enabling ownership?
One of the biggest detriments to team performance and client service is a lack of ownership. This happens in many ways.
- Management doesn’t delegate.
- Management assigns multiple people to lead a single project.
- Management doesn’t exemplify ownership.
- Management wants the glory.
It’s difficult for your team to take ownership when they’re never given the opportunity. If you’re not delegating, ask yourself why.
Is it due to a lack of trust? Why is trust low?
- Are they new and need mentoring? Are you willing to mentor them?
- Did they make a mistake before and you haven’t talked with them to work through it?
A lack of delegation slows you and your business down. To allow the business to grow and for your team to show you what they’re capable of, you will need to let go of control. Control stifles growth, relationships, and creativity needed for problem-solving.
Assign Specific Ownership
The problem with a committee is it creates the opportunity for nobody to take ownership. Everyone thinks someone else is responsible and no one ends up doing it. Or the need for consensus slows down the momentum needed to move forward.
If you’re assigning multiple people to lead a single project, what is the purpose? Do you not trust one of them? Do you think the project is too big for one person? Are you trying to create an equal opportunity in shared responsibility?
Are you practicing ownership so your team knows what it looks like? Does the buck stop with you, regardless of who is at fault? Do you take responsibility for the outcomes, good and bad? Or do you blame the client, contractor, or market?
- New business leads are slow. Do you blame the market and ride it out? Or do you brainstorm with your team to figure out ways to generate business? And do you review business performance (inconsistent marketing, mediocre client service) for improvement?
- The client is pushing back on a decision. Do you stay open-minded to better understand their concerns and hesitation? Do you review your communication to see if there was a misunderstanding? Or do you double down on your position?
How you respond in these situations is what your team will imitate. How are you showing them to address adversity and handle conflict? More lessons are caught than taught.
In management, it’s easy to swoop in and save the day. Then delegate cleanup to someone on your team. But what does that teach them?
Does being the hero undermind your team’s ability to take ownership of the outcomes, good and bad, too? Does it create division with a hero vs villain scenario?
Does it create more work for you? Because you’re teaching people to bypass the other person and come to you for the answer they want. “May I speak to your manager?!“
A Call to Take Ownership
Whether you’re a leader or a team member, I urge you to take ownership of your role. Ownership requires planning, preparation, execution, and follow-up.
- How will you show up to the meeting today? Are you prepared to contribute? Did you follow through afterward?
- How will you respond to the client’s frustration? People care less about who’s at fault and more about how you will correct the situation now and moving forward.
- How will you show your manager or client that you’re capable of greater responsibility? Do you anticipate their needs? Do you make their job easier? Do you provide solutions to their problems or do you wait for direction?
- What are you doing to position yourself for the opportunities you desire?
By taking ownership, you increase your ability to do hard things and gain respect from others. You build emotional and mental muscles. You’re telling your brain “I’m capable of figuring things out, regardless of the situation.” The respect you earn along the way then opens the door to new opportunities.
I’m a firm believer in “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” How strong is your will to take ownership and create better outcomes?