You are not responsible for their responses.

One of the biggest confusions regarding boundaries in the work place has to do with how responsibility works.

In the work place, relationships and situations, get confusing when someone feels responsible “for” another persons’ feelings, attitudes, behaviors, choices or work. For example, when you say “no” to someone who wants something from you, like your time or a favor, and “they” then get angry, or have some sort of negative reaction, that reaction is their responsibility, not yours. If they are throwing a temper tantrum or dishing out the guilt because they did not get what they want, their response is their issue, not yours.

We are not responsible “for” someone does not mean that we have no responsibility. We are responsible “for” ourselves, but also “to” others. If someone we work with has a problem, or is making destructive choices, or is hurting us in some way or the company, we have a responsibility “to” that person to tell them, try to help them take responsibility for themselves, and offer them helpful options.

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3 thoughts on “You are not responsible for their responses.

  1. If a person reading this artical is the one getting upset, what would you suggest to them to help identify where its coming from? Would it come from what they are thinking?

  2. This is a hard lesson for people to grasp. We are taught from a very young age to be nice and not hurt others. There is a fine line for being responsible and just being ‘guilted’. We prefer to avoid negative situations and thus have a hard time understanding where that line lies. Great topic to open up!

  3. Give the ownership back to the individual. Sometimes it is our own pride that takes on other’s workload…. I can do it better, more efficiently and the whay it shoudl be done. Empower the person instead of enabling them by taking on their responsibilities! Give them the Triple A process – Awareness, Action and Accountability!. Works awesome… guess that makes Four A’s !

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