People do not act irresponsibly because they are ill; they are ill because they act irresponsibly.
-Dr. William Glasser, 1965
A leader holding others accountable, including themselves, by taking responsibility for their actions, is the single most important factor for high performance teams. Consequences provide opportunity for skill building. The people you work with arrive with varying degrees of life skills. In Reality Therapy by Dr. William Glasser, he points out life skills help us meet our needs and lack of skills drives us to try unrealistic means to fulfill our needs. It is my ever increasing desire to bring “reality therapy” to the workplace. It is universal, because while diverse, everyone within your organization has the same needs, but vary in their ability to fulfill them. The needs we all have are:
1) Relatedness- the need to love and be loved
2) Respect- the need to feel we are worthwhile both to ourselves and to others
Responsibility is defined in reality therapy as the ability to fulfill one’s needs. So a fulfilling life and successful career pursuits require we take responsibility each and every one of us for meeting our needs. In a culture of accountability, a leader is involved with those they serve so that whatever the deficit in performance (results), the relationship between them establishes relatedness. Without relatedness, it is not likely advice alone could cause an individual to act to improve one’s conduct. It must be noted however, whether our need for relatedness is satisfied or not, to meet our need to be worthwhile, we must maintain a satisfactory standard of behavior . . . and to do so we must learn to correct ourselves when we do wrong and to credit ourselves when we do right (Glasser, 1975).
A responsible man does that which gives him a feeling of self-worth and a feeling that he is worthwhile to others. He’s motivated to strive and perhaps endure privation to attain self-worth. When a responsible person says that he will perform a job for us, he will try to accomplish what was asked, both for us and so that he may gain a measure of self-worth for himself. An irresponsible person may or may not do what he says, depending upon how he feels, the effort he has to make, and what is in it for him. He gains neither our respect or his own, and in time he will suffer or cause others to suffer.
-William Glasser, Reality Therapy
Life changes and it takes resiliency and courage to continue to meet challenges. Hold yourself responsible and create an environment where you help people take responsibility for their behavior and their conduct. A great leader will have high functioning teams possessing skills to self-correct when they are aware they are seeking to meet their needs in a way that deprives others of the ability to fulfill their needs -The Winning Way
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