Forget buzzy life-hacks and take responsibility,
You have bad habits.
If you think you don’t, you’re kidding yourself.
Some of them are probably worse than others and some of them will hold you back worse than others.
If you’re looking to shave off some of your bad habits, and you always should, I always recommend breaking the habit of passing along responsibility.
Always be in the habit of taking responsibility for your obligations.
A lot of us at least brush with the idea of shirking our duties when we were students in school, university, or otherwise. Poor performance in a class here or there was not our fault; it was because the teacher didn’t do this or that, or the teacher was boring in some way.
The thing is that someone had to have an A in that class, someone also got D’s and F’s, and you’re probably sitting in the middle there. Getting in the habit of deferring responsibility, blaming someone else, does not fly in a career-based environment.
If something does not get done or doesn’t meet standards, you can try and blame anyone and everyone for some of the issues that occurred, but you will always have to share the blame. If you are in a leadership position, doubly so.
If you ever start having the mindset that you are not responsible for pieces and look forward to being that person, that is forever partitioned off into the areas of low productivity, and a less steep career growth curve, etc.
Regardless of another coworker’s perceived incompetence, there is nearly always a way for you to push forward and get what you need done. Sometimes that might mean working with someone begrudgingly or even working around them.
There will very rarely be situations in which the responsibility of your performance is entirely out of your hands.
The habit to get into is to know where you stand on your projects, have clear directions on where you want to go, and then just simply own it.
Analyze very carefully all of the variables that affect you. Identify the ones over which you have complete control: when you get in, when you get out, whether you meet a deadline, whether you’re at the meeting on time, whether you follow up, whether you do all those perfunctory day-to-day things.
Complete and maintain all of these variables as well as you possibly can.
Once you have stock of the basic responsibilities you need to be in-tune with, go even further.
Dig deeper into how you work and the ways in which you can maximize quality. Work on the relationships you have with coworkers so you can increase your productivity and enjoyment of time with them. Try to understand your role in the business better and make suggestions on ways to improve your workplace in general.
You’ll also be surprised at how many variables that appear at the surface to be out of your control, you actually have a huge amount of influence on. This is especially important if you are looking to take the next step in your career and aim for a promotion or raise.
Now, as I alluded to before, not everything is in your control. You can have a team that is well-oiled and full of responsible people, but ultimately, you cannot control people or their lives.
Things will pop up that will require attention and distract from productivity. That’s okay.
If someone cancels a meeting, be proactive in finding a way to make up for it. If the weather ruins a commute, be transparent about your predicament and make mental notes of how to avoid it next time. The list of ways that you can be out of control goes on and on.
What’s important is to not sweat those things you cannot control. Work around them however you can, but do your very best to not let them drag you down.
So long as you are in the habit of owning and having confidence in the responsibilities you have control over, uncontrollable setbacks will often be easier to accept and move on from. You’ll be more willing to step into the unknown and you’ll make gains as an employee who is willing to do it all, and do it well.
Have your habit be one of ownership. Ownership of result, ownership of responsibility, not one of “It’s not my fault, it’s the math teacher.”
Change that habit, change that mindset and it can be transformational in your career.