Sunday, 12 July 2009


Responsibility teaches us to be responsible.

In the past, whenever I had a young trainee working for me I gave him responsibility for a particular task. He had set objectives and goals to meet, an agreed timescale and a budget if needed. He was responsible for that area of work and was answerable to me.

Whether he succeeded or failed I carried overall responsibility for the area of work I managed; but he was responsible for that task within it. And he learnt from that responsibility.

The same applies to marriage. Too many people these days view marriage as a fairy tale wedding with all the trimmings and hope to live happily ever after. But in marriage you have a responsibility for two. You think and plan for two. And if children come along you are responsible for more than two. You’re responsible for their well-being, education, up-bringing and so on.

As a driver you’re responsible for your safety and that of other road users.

Now then: here’s a difficult question.

As Christians, what are our responsibilities towards God? Towards other people? And towards ourselves?

Makes you think – doesn’t it?


  1. "...Whether he succeeded or failed I carried overall responsibility for the area of work I managed; but he was responsible for that task within it. And he learnt from that responsibility..." -- quote V Moubarak

    Does this mean that you took overall responsibility if the employee under you got things wrong (unintentionally)? Or does this mean that you were both responsible?

  2. I, (the manager), always took responsibility for the mistakes or failings of my staff. If I'm responsible for a Department it follows that I am responsible for the actions of all the staff in that Department. My role as manager is to delegate work, instruct, guide, oversee, supervise and train. But having delegated the task the final responsibility if it goes wrong rests with me.

    Of course, the employee will learn that he got his bit wrong and hence jeopardised the whole task. But the responsibility is always mine - whether he does it well or wrong.

    It's a question of training your staff to accept the responsibility for the task you've delegated to them. If they do it well - you delegate more. As they learn, they improve to the point that they are ready to take on more responsibility. And hopefully eventually promotion.

    It always pleased me when my staff left me for a promotion elsewhere. It proved to me that they had grown.

    And I suppose my job is to help them to grow to a better job.

  3. Thanks Victor. I know of those who were/are in positions of authority and shirked their responsibilities regarding a situation that went wrong.

    I'm sure you will agree that being the overall Mamager, it would have been your job to 'check' and not merely trust your staff have done things correctly whilst you were in charge. Whilst trust is a good thing - human error can factor and if something was checked it may have been reduced or even prevented...

    Yes - responsibility sure is important for us all to consider...

    W McCallum

  4. Agreed. The manager's responsibility is to check and ensure that his staff are doing their job properly. At all times he is vicariously liable for any wrong doing of his staff; unless they were personaly culpable and such can be proved.

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