Beyond Holidays and Long Weekends: Independence equals Responsibility

Independence Equals Responsibility

Independence Day around the world usually involves grand ceremonies and epic celebrations — and rightfully so! Commemorating the birth of a nation is an occasion of joy. It also makes for the perfect opportunity to reflect upon our own reasons for celebrating.

The idea of independence has evolved from being a political ideology fought for by our forefathers, to a personal mantra we now live by. It has become a mindset we all aspire to apply in our lives. It represents the freedom to fight for what is most important to you, to be liberated from what you see as negative and to create a personal and business life that is most ideal to you.

Having experience lack of freedom growing up in communist Cuba, I am very appreciative of the fact that I am now a citizen of this country (USA) and therefore, I can live in freedom.  I feel so fortunate to live in what I believe is the greatest country in the world. But, I am also concerned by what I have been seeing lately with regard to those who are abusing their freedoms by mistreating others in so many arenas without giving it a second thought. I'm saddened by those that feel they have the freedom to express their own opinions, but feel that anybody with a different opinion is "evil," or "wrong." 

Therefore today I want to reflect on how independence and responsibility have to go together for a country, a business, or a family to experience true freedom.

What does it mean to be independent?

in·de·pend·ence: To have the power to do things on your own; to be able to choose your own path without anyone telling you what you can or can’t do; to have the privilege to be heard by others and the ability to act upon those words.

With freedom and independence comes the right to do and be and live as we choose.  We are free to choose our political views, our religions, our work, etc.  We have the right to vote for whom we wish to represent us and what laws should govern us. 

For many, their responsibilities stop with making sure they have their "rights."  They want their freedoms as long as they don’t have to do anything to earn them or support them or work for them.  They want peace in the world but that is for someone else to figure out how to get.  They want  many things in their lives but are not willing to work for it in the same way as so many before us who fought for our independence and who struggled to make a life for themselves and their families in this land of opportunity.

What about Responsibility?

E. Roosevelt quote-freedom requires responsiblity.png

Responsibility is a character trait by which a person is able to respond for his actions, is able to take up duties and to face the consequences of the actions that may occur. Oxford dictionary defines responsibility as the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone.

You are not born responsible.  Responsibility has to be cultivated; it has to become a part of your personality. Lack of such a trait of character or even its absolute absence was never considered to be a positive feature. When you are responsible it is easier to gain the respect of yourself and others.  

Life is full of choices, and what you make of them determines your entire experience. Sometimes you may swim against the current, and other times you may go with the flow. Recognizing that the outcome of your life is a product of your decisions is what accepting personal responsibility is all about.

You can choose to be the victim of your world, blaming—complaining and finding excuses for your choices—or you can take responsibility for achieving your goals and accepting responsibility.  Owning your choices and accepting responsibility increases your self-esteem and elicits positive emotions of empowerment.

Taking responsibility Is the highest mark of great leaders

Great leaders have the mindset that says, “I am the person who must make this happen,” whether it stems from your belief or because your job requires this of you, or there is some social force binding you to this obligation.

      What is responsible behavior?

The responsible leader exhibits this behavior in multiple directions. It influences how the leader behaves with subordinates; it affects the relationship with an immediate boss and with other departments in the organization. Finally, it encompasses an overall set of values and attitudes an all aspects of the leader's life.

      With subordinates. . .

  • leaders manifest the quality of responsible behavior through a willingness to take charge and not shirk from decisions.

  • It means staying on top of problems and not assuming someone else will step in.

  • It means having a results-based view of the leader’s role. No matter how great a human being you are, your effectiveness is ultimately defined by the results your team produces. The responsible manager ensures the group successfully drives for results.

      With upper management. . .

  • Accepts criticism for mistakes. Takes steps to fix problems and make amends with those who have been inconvenienced. Doesn't blame subordinates.

  • Acts as a buffer from pressures that come from above or outside, and fends off unreasonable demands.

  • Informs in a timely manner those at higher levels of performance shortfalls and needed resources.

      With other departments. . .

  • ensures that activities do not fall between the cracks between departments. Does adequate communication and follow up.

      What is a responsible attitude?

A responsible attitude involves having an overall attitude of responsibility. It begins with the leader’s visceral connection with the organization. The leader feels pride when the organization succeeds and is obviously pained during challenging periods. The bond is strong.  Personal goals always are subordinated  the broader organizational needs.

A responsible attitude includes doing things for which there is no immediate reward, but that are in the organization’s best interests. For example, many companies have found no efficient way to reward executives who take the time and energy to develop upcoming leaders. Fortunately, many leaders continue to take that role very seriously, despite the fact they may never receive any tangible recognition or reward for this work.

Remember. . .

As a leader, You will have more power when you earn it through your responsibility.  The combination of your responsible behavior with your responsible attitude gives you powerful influence, and accelerates your leadership growth.

Happy 4th of July!