The word responsibility has more definitions than there are people!
After 30 years of research Christopher Avery defines taking Responsibility as simply “owning my power and ability to create, choose and attract my experience or my reality.” And yes, Christopher and his team often write Responsibility with a capital ‘R’.
Christopher supports people who want to take charge of their lives by understanding and applying responsibility thinking. In this blog, we are going to look at how taking responsibility will benefit your leadership. We’ll learn the 3 keys to responsibility and how to develop them, explain The Responsibility Process, the benefits in applying it and share some practical examples of how you can apply Responsibility in your work and daily life.
The premise is that we are powerful beings who are always creating, choosing and attracting our experience, we are just not always owning that we are. Christopher’s research has proven that until we start taking ownership of our mind, we don’t really start learning and growing.
“Society teaches responsibility as a character trait or a character flaw, and we teach it as a practice.” – Christopher Avery
The 3 Keys to Responsibility
Responsibility is a practice rather than a character trait and the three keys to taking responsibility are intention, awareness and confront.
Intention: Setting a clear and deliberate intention to take responsibility for our thoughts, actions and experiences.
Awareness: Developing a heightened awareness of our own thoughts, emotions and behaviours, as well as the impact they have on ourselves and others.
Confront: Confronting any obstacles or challenges that prevent us from taking responsibility and addressing them head-on.
We need to treat all of these keys as a mental muscle that we can build and develop.
How to Develop the 3 Key Mental States of Responsibility
Let’s explore how we can develop the 3 key mental states of intention, awareness and confront:
Intention: Let’s say you’re a leader who wants to take more responsibility for your team’s performance. You can set a clear intention by writing down a statement like, “I am committed to taking responsibility for my team’s success and creating a positive work environment.” Repeat this statement to yourself every morning as a reminder of your intention.
Awareness: To develop awareness, you can start by paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors throughout the day. For example, notice when you feel frustrated or stressed, and ask yourself what’s causing those feelings. Are you taking responsibility for your reactions, or are you blaming others? By becoming more aware of your own patterns, you can start to make conscious choices that align with your intention.
Confront: Finally, to develop your confrontational muscle, look for opportunities to address challenges or obstacles that are preventing you from taking responsibility. For example, if you notice that a team member is consistently underperforming, instead of avoiding the issue or blaming them for their lack of effort, confront the situation head-on. Have a conversation with the team member to understand what’s going on and work together to find a solution. By confronting challenges in a constructive way, you can take ownership of the situation and move forward with your intention.
Confident leaders develop their consciousness. They cultivate intention, awareness, and the ability to confront themselves. They also understand that taking responsibility is hard work, and they must be willing to face their mind and… Click To Tweet
The Responsibility Process
There are six phases that the mind goes through during The Responsibility Process:
- Denial: This is the first stage where individuals deny responsibility for a situation or problem, and instead blame others or external factors.
- Lay Blame: In this stage, individuals shift the blame onto others and find excuses for their own lack of responsibility.
- Justify: In this stage, individuals rationalise their behaviour and justify their actions, making it difficult to take responsibility for the situation.
- Shame: This stage involves feeling guilty or ashamed about the situation, which can lead to a lack of confidence and further denial of responsibility.
- Obligation: In this stage, individuals feel obligated to take responsibility for the situation, but may not fully understand how to do so.
- Responsibility: The final stage is where individuals take full responsibility for the situation and take action to resolve it.
The way you graduate from the bottom to the top is to simply refuse to cooperate with that last coping mechanism. These are just mental states; a perspective or a point of view that you are coming from in the mind.True leadership demands Responsibility (with a capital R). Confident leaders own their power to create, choose and attract their reality. They take charge, shift their mindset and influence the outcome. #leadership #responsibility Click To Tweet
Have you read: One Mind, Many Matters (Strength & Resilience) – Barnaby Howarth
One example of refusing to cooperate with the last coping mechanism is to understand that the reason you are in (let’s say) shame, is because you are operating perfectly according to the responsibility process in your mind. You have refused to blame, you refuse to justify, woohoo, congratulations, you are not willing to externalise. You just got stuck in shame.
Therefore, there is nothing wrong with you, it is just a matter of taking ownership of your mind in order to move through obligation to responsibility and take action to resolve the situation.Confident leaders take ownership. They understand the difference between responsibility and ownership And recognize that leadership is a byproduct of taking ownership. They know their role is critical in impacting team performance and… Click To Tweet
The Benefits of Taking Responsibility as a Leader
Until leaders start owning their power and ability to create, choose and attract ‘stuff’ that ends up ‘biting us in the butt’ later on, they don’t really start learning and growing.
Have you read: Are You Stronger Than Your Excuses – Julie Watson
Society teaches us that if we are doing what we are supposed to be doing to be seen as being good, approved citizens, then that is called being responsible.
Everything from shame up is being responsible as far as most cultures are concerned, but it is not owning it. When you are in shame, you are not owning it. When you are an obligation, you are not owning it. It is actually just a coping mechanism.
Overcoming Obstacles to Taking Responsibility
The fastest way to reach the mental state of responsibility is to refuse to feel trapped. A shortcut Christopher teaches is to ask powerful questions such as:
- “What do I want, or what do we want?”
- “What should I do, or what should we do?”
Acknowledging an upset or a problem for yourself or your team, family and then asking the powerful question gets us into a much freer and more intentional place in our mind, where we can start to generate solutions.
“Only the brave get to be free” – Christopher Avery
How Leaders Can Apply The Responsibility Process
So, what can you do as a leader to apply The Responsibility Process in your work and daily life?
The most critical step is to become aware of your mental state and practice being intentional in your actions. What would this actually look like? If your team is facing a challenge, you can ask powerful questions like “What do we want?” and “What should we do?” (This is the second time I mentioned these questions so they must be important!). These questions will encourage your team to take ownership and move towards the responsibility stage of the process. You can also model responsibility by taking ownership of your own actions and be transparent about your thought process. This will help create a culture of accountability in your team.
As a leader, another way you can apply The Responsibility Process is by confronting our own biases and limiting beliefs. By being aware of your own mental state and challenging yourself to take responsibility for your thoughts and actions, you can overcome obstacles that may be preventing you from reaching your leadership potential. Doing this will lead to better decision making, better communication, and a stronger sense of trust will develop within the team.
Without doubt, if you add The Responsibility Process (downloadable) into your leadership toolkit, and apply it in your work and daily life, you will create a more empowered and winning team culture.
When it comes to leading and managing people, being responsible requires leaders to have a deep sense of love, compassion, and empathy. If you’re running a business or leading a team, you must understand that any issue within the organisation or team is your responsibility. As a leader, you must acknowledge that you have played a role in creating, choosing, or attracting any problem that arises within your company.
Assuming responsibility can have a significant positive impact on leadership. It can foster trust, enhance communication, and facilitate more effective problem-solving. It’s important for leaders to understand the six mental processes that occur during the responsibility process and recognise that these are simply different perspectives or viewpoints that arise in the mind. By doing so, leaders can approach challenges with intention and be better prepared to proactively address them.
You can check out our interview with Christopher Avery titled ‘Taking Responsibility and Creating a Life You Desire‘ on your favourite podcast audio platform, or on The Culture of Leadership (TCoL) YouTube channel.