It’s a phrase devised to block the bug of blame: “I was never told that!”
Once uttered, it says a lot about those of us who’ve used it to fend of responsibility:
– “I only do what I’m told”
– “I can’t think for myself.”
– “I need my boss around for me to do my job.”
These aren’t exactly the values posted on the company posters in the hallway.
Barricades to responsibility have other causes. There are some work cultures where management demands employees wait to be told what to do. Ironically, these same organizations often plead for their employees to step up and take ownership.
The opportunity lies within the discussion your team may be eager to have: Have we put up a responsibility firewall? And, what’s it look like to take it down?