How do you play the game right to your advantage? How do you handle the Ball of Responsibility effectively? We’ve shown you that in a situation, you are actually playing ball games with our co-workers. Having the Me factor, you know your responsibilities. Having the Situation factor, you know the outcome and consequences. Earlier, we’ve mentioned that playing the game right, you can avoid being the victim of the blame chain. How do we do that?
When you receive the Ball of Responsibility, you have three ways of handling it. One is to fully absorb the responsibility assigned to you. Two, is to share the responsibility with someone else. And finally, three, you can choose to throw it to someone else’s “court”.
One, absorbing the responsibility is clear cut. You have made accountable to the task assigned to you. You are responsible for the outcome of this task and the consequences any failure. If you uphold your responsibilities at work you are a responsible employee. BUT WAIT! If you allow responsibilities that’s out of your scope to be in your “court”, that’s dumb. You spend time working and ensuring that failure doesn’t occur, and doesn’t contribute to your KPI. Individuals who take on the wrong responsibilities usually end up being the scapegoat of a blame responsibility chain. DO NOT take on responsibilities blindly take on tasks that’s out of your scope! Remember, not all situations calls for a responsible employee. Assess the situation. It may be better that you passed the task to someone else.
Two, sharing the responsibility with someone else. Sometimes, this is necessary. Especially when the consequences are huge. Example, an urgent change request to rectify the production system was initiated after office hours. The rectification may cause the system to fail the following day but the rectification is necessary. A critical decision has to be made now.
How will you handle it considering you just a system analyst in charge of the system? If you agree to go ahead with the request and the system crashes the next morning, you will be liable with the damage done. Instead, you can make a call to your superior to have a combine assessment of the change request. If your superior agrees to the change request, any damage or liability in the following morning is distributed between your superior and you (with generally a higher blame ratio to the superior). Always remember, your superiors are given a higher pay check with a reason. That is to take on a bigger responsibility.
Finally, the last option is to throw the responsibility to someone else’s “court”. We call it responsibility shifting which is moving the task to someone else. It may make you sound like an irresponsible person at work but it’s not always the case. It is sometimes necessary too. The responsibility assigned to you is not part of your job scope. It is best to pass it to someone else to handle it. You won’t be able to handle it effectively nor with a right mind set.
If the responsibility assigned to you is part of your job scope. And you chose to shift to someone else. This is unhealthy. Remember, your co-workers are not dumb. One day, they might not offer you help because you’ve treated them this way.
What can you do now given a responsibility? With the three ways mentioned above, you should be more aware of how you handle tasks and the Ball of Responsibility. Be conscious of how you play it. They can serve as an adviser of why others are treating you this way. Keep yourself away from the scapegoat title and avoid offending your co-workers. Play the game right!