From time to time we want to lecture to the staff, and we can’t figure out what to talk on.  Last week I gave the staff a lecture on “responsibility” and you know where I got my reference material from?  The dictionary. We all have our own ideas of what “responsibility” is and sometimes we know only one definition. Your staff member may think that “responsibility”only means blame. That means that you’re thinking about one aspect of “responsibility” and your staff is thinking about another. So this is from the Oxford American Dictionary, and I’m going to give you the different definitions of “responsibility”:

  1. The state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone.
  2. The state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something.  (This is the typical one that we think is responsibility.)
  3. The opportunity or ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization.
  4. A thing that one is required to do as part of a job or legal obligation.
  5. A moral obligation to behave correctly toward or in respect of.

Each one of these definitions of “responsibility” can mean something different and can enhance the meaning of not only the word, but also of performance.  I do this a lot. I will look at the dictionary and I will give definitions and then look at how those definitions might apply. It can be a very engaging and very successful topic of a lecture at a staff meeting.

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