We hear a lot about ‘taking ownership’ at workplaces, but what does it mean to take ownership? In this era full of jargon usage, it becomes very obvious that people misinterpret or misunderstand the meaning of words and expressions. And with different interpretations, come different expectations.
Taking ownership should not be interpreted as someone taking the blame and responsibility away from the rest of the team members. This should not be one of those elementary school moments (I hope there’s no longer such things in this generation) of who should take charge in guarding the classroom tidy. But for many, it feels like it at work. We know what happens next -no one wants to take any initiative or ownership anymore.
Ownership? You need leaders who can walk the talk!
Also, let’s make it clear that ownership is not an individual trait or character. Through my years of experience in senior leadership -character is only a beginning factor for an individual to thrive at work. A secure and supportive environment plays a big factor for anyone to start growing and owning their roles and execute projects. In short, with the right setup -anyone can take ownership. Just because one individual is less energetic or timid, does not mean he/she can’t take ownership in any given project!
In contrast, there has been less discussion in building that ownership culture and environment. And that should start from the top. The world now probably has an intensive collection of boss vs leader memes. This is one of them:
I’m sure each of us has our own favorite meme on this topic. Easy to conclude that if you want a culture of people taking ownership, you will need good leaders in your company. Because only these leaders can provide the most essential ingredient for this culture; trust. It’s a two-way street after all.
So, if you want your team to take ownership then learn first how to trust and give ownership to your team!