Do your employees play the “blame game,” or are they willing to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes? 

Winning organizations and individuals do not make excuses or point fingers when they have not met their performance expectations. Instead, they freely assume ownership for the outcomes they have produced.

Creating a climate where individuals are willing and eager to take ownership of their behaviors and how they impact the organization comes down to a simple sequence of interlinked actions. We will discuss these below.

First, let’s take a look at the burning question in most leaders’ minds… “How do I go about getting others to assume a higher level of ownership?”

Historically, leaders have believed that with the right external motivation, their employees can achieve anything. However, the root of motivation, and the key to getting the best possible performance out of your employees, doesn’t begin where you may think.

In working with profit and not-for-profit sector organizations over the past two decades, I’ve seen a clear model arise that differentiates the winners from the losers. Successful businesses know that:

  1. When you fully understand someone’s strengths and weaknesses and then utilize their strengths while delegating their weak areas to others, they experience success. This feeling of accomplishment or victory improves their self-esteem. Ultimately, you have set them up for success by allowing them to shine through their skills and abilities. (And, you can do this for yourself as well!)
  2. When someone is victorious, and their self-esteem improves, they become significantly more MOTIVATED to apply themselves, assuming more responsibility, and becoming more excited to participate. At this point, incentive and motivation programs and initiatives become less critical.
  3. When individuals become MOTIVATED seeing their victories and successes, they become significantly more PASSIONATE about life and apply themselves fully to all their different endeavors.
  4. When individuals are passionate about something, they are happy to take OWNERSHIP of those things.

In order to encourage your employees to take ownership, you must first set them up for VICTORY! The cycle or circular diagram below becomes an addiction to victory, where individuals seek more opportunities to showcase their best skills and abilities and thus see continued achievement and success.

This model came about from a reverse analysis of some of the most successful businesses and many of my clients today. People that assume OWNERSHIP seem to be among the most PASSIONATE at what they do. Those that have a high passion for what they do are continuously MOTIVATED by what they do. This can only happen when people are set up for VICTORIES, having been given those tasks that they are best mentally and physically equipped to undertake. All of this feeds one’s self-esteem, allowing them to accomplish great things for themselves and your organization as a whole!


Written by Dr. Jeffrey Magee.


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