Friday, February 17, 2012

No Parking Zone

The reality television show Parking Wars is an interesting way to learn about human reaction in crisis, frustration and about how people accept (or don't accept) responsibility.
One evening I decided to pop into the show briefly and observed a young woman state that she had received seven parking tickets after parking in the same No Parking Zone several times.  These seven tickets totaled $281.00 plus the fee to impound the car, as a result of the seven unpaid tickets.  The fee to park in the underground parking lot across the road would have been $7.50 per day.  What I found most interesting was her dialogue with the Impound Officer and her friend about whose responsibility and problem this actually was. Somehow this young woman had convinced herself that it was the Ticket Officer's problem.  She was full of excuses, blame and even personal put downs about the Ticket Officer.
This same scenario plays out in workplaces all the time.  Someone makes a mistake or a bad choice, and rather than own it and accept responsibility, fingers start pointing and blame and excuses fuel the dialogue.
There are clear benefits of owning your choices, actions and decisions:

  • It demonstrates integrity
  • Owning up shows you are not perfect
  • Relationships are maintained instead of becoming strained
  • You can change the behavior for next time or to improve the situation
  • Owning your actions reduces chance of the same mistake(s) occurring again
  • There is learning and growth
The benefits of owning your choice and actions far outweigh blame, excuses and putting the responsibility onto others.  Workplace environments that faster respect, acceptance, and trust provide the "safety zone" for team members to effectively handle mistakes and own their actions.