Everyone has heard about responsibility. We all know that some people are responsible, others are irresponsible. Each of us at least once in a lifetime has heard such a phrase “You are irresponsible!” or “You don’t have a sense of responsibility!” and so on. But what does it mean? Not everyone understands the meaning of the words “responsibility” and “responsible / irresponsible”.
What is responsibility?
Responsibility is one of the traits of our character which means that a person is able to respond for his actions, is able to take some duties and to face certain consequences of the actions that may occur. Oxford dictionary defines responsibility as the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone.
Definitely, people are not born with the sense of responsibility and it does not appear at once by a magic clasp of the fingers. Responsibility is something every person should cultivate in themselves; it should become a part of one’s personality. Lack of such a trait of character or even its absolute absence was never considered to be a positive feature. When you are responsible it is easier to gain the respect of the people and to take decent place in a society.
Importance of responsibility
Someone’s irresponsibility can be not only irritating when a person does not cope or does not want to cope with the duties, but in some cases, it can be dangerous. There are certain kinds of jobs which demand from a personal responsibility, jobs where lack of responsibility can lead to tragic consequences or even to a catastrophe.
Let us imagine a situation when a student was to write an essay but he did not manage to complete this task in time. A professor would definitely call the student irresponsible. In this case, there is no damage from irresponsibility, except for the student’s personal harm. But let’s also imagine another situation. An employee of a Nuclear Power Plant was not attentive enough, pushed a wrong button and it led to an explosion. This catastrophe caused by lack of responsibility as terrible consequences, it can damage not only the environment but also can take people’s lives. Of course, these examples are exaggerated but the last one shows how much important responsibility is.
To be or not to be responsible
Some people claim that responsibility is not in their nature. They say that they try to be responsible but nothing works. I don’t think it is fair enough. I believe that for someone responsibility is more natural, for others it is not. That is why for someone it can be easier to be responsible, while for others it is rather hard. Honestly saying, judging from my own experience sometimes it is so difficult to stay responsible, especially when you want to relax and to have a little rest without thinking about the duties you have.
It may seem that people who are too much responsible very often are too serious, and tensed, they can not enjoy their lives. Someone can even say that they are unhappy. Partially it can be true, but not necessarily. You can be a responsible and joyful person at the same time. Responsibility does not exclude happiness.
Nevertheless asking “To be or not to be responsible?” the answer is definite: to be! But you should always remember that everything is good in moderation.
Everything we were talking about is so-called personal responsibility. So, I think, it is important to mention social responsibility as well. Previously we discussed the meaning of citizenship. Now we can say that social responsibility is one of the components of citizenship, of relations between man and man in society. According to Wikipedia, social responsibility is an ethical framework and suggests that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. Social responsibility is a duty every individual has to perform so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the ecosystems. Social responsibility is important and plays a great role in every sphere of our life. So if we want to live in a prosperous and developing society, we all should be conscious not only about personal but also about social responsibility. Each member of a community has his own responsibilities and duties towards himself and towards others which he has to fulfill to keep the cooperative spirit and to keep a balance not only between people but also between people and nature.
Since the very childhood everyone has certain responsibilities: responsibilities in a family, at school, university, at work and so on. Everyone is expected to implement these responsibilities and their non-fulfillment proclaims disapproval and indignation. So each of us more or less understands what responsibility is, what we need it for, and why it is very important.
Every parent tries to raise the sense of responsibility in their child. While we are children, our parents are responsible for us and our personal and especially social responsibility are not that clearly visible or shown. But when we grow up, we take full responsibility for everything we do and for every our action. We can not just call our mother or father and make them solve our problems. So being an adult means being responsible for yourself. Of course, there are many levels of responsibility and they differ from person to person. Only you can decide what your level is, whether you are responsible or not. Everything is up to you!
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Responsibility is defined by two pertinent definitions in our language. The state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone; the state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something. These definitions form a relevant point in the substance of this essay, where I will discuss what responsibility is, types of responsibility, why this value is important in society, what irresponsibility means, what this word means to me, and how I plan to improve my level of responsibility in the future.
Responsibility can be summed up in a number of different ways. Most notably so by keeping hold of one’s duties and by being accountable of one’s actions. A person who is responsible has a variety of tasks at hand at many given moments, and must be trusted to competently complete them through his/her own doing. Therefore, should a person fail to complete one of these said tasks, or he/she does so in a substandard manner, he/she is demonstrating a lack of responsibility with the given task. A person is then irresponsible when this becomes a definable pattern in their behavior. Responsibility also means to be accountable. When a person fails to uphold the standard in any given way, that person must be held accountable for their actions. To make excuses or even to deny blame demonstrates a lack of accountability, and thus responsibility. To deny blame for a fault does not even occur to a person who is naturally responsible. Without responsibility, one cannot expect to be placed in a position of leadership; as such placement involves increased responsibility. One also cannot expect to be relied upon in the future by his/her colleagues, superiors, or subordinates.
Responsibility can be broken down into further categories. This value comes into play in terms of leadership, personal responsibility, and in group scenarios. In a leadership position responsibility means to properly uphold the range of set tasks within the scope of leadership, while simultaneously being mindful of one’s own tasks and events. A person in leadership not only must retain responsibility for himself and the job at hand but for people as well. He must know the workings of his subordinates and makes sure their level of personal aptitude is fitting of the defined standard. Responsibility comes out most in a person in a leadership position, and his worth as a leader may well depend on this value. It is hence forth quite important for one to greatly develop this aspect of their character throughout his/her time climbing a command ladder.
Secondly, responsibility comes into play for every individual on a daily basis. Every person must be accountable for their actions and duties, and be mindful of their completion and quality. In this sense, responsibility is something that has been important in human development for as long as society itself. Because without a level of this, there can be no improvement on every personal basis, and thus, a basis in society. Furthermore, a lack of responsibility demonstrates a lack of several other key values. One who lacks accountability and responsibility often lacks personal esteem, a level of pride and commitment, and reliability.
Lastly, this applies in the group setting. A group of individuals may find that they need to take joint responsibility for an action or event. This can be for anything from a company to a small group of people finishing a professional remedial task. This feeds into the idea of the social ladder scenario in that one group’s responsibility plays a role in the well being of even more people or groups. People must be able to be depended on for responsibility and accountability, therefore this plays into responsibility’s role in society, as discussed in the next section.
More important than the definition, is the relevance of this value. Namingly, what responsibility means to our society. Our society is one built of hierarchy, i.e. A series of command for anywhere from professional areas, to personal areas, to class stratification. People tend to have either positions of leadership or leadership above them in some manner. This is important because typically as one’s level of leadership or significance increases, so does his/her level of responsibility. A leader must be in charge of events as well as people, and therefore the leader must be held accountable for their outcomes. Occasionally a person may be put into a leadership position who may lack the required level of responsibility. This leads to a poor development of the system starting from him/her and going all the way down, affecting everyone involved. It becomes even more of a problem when a leader lacks accountability. This is why responsibility is so important in our society. It keeps professional workplaces stable and personal connections smooth.
Outside of the realm of hierarchy, personal responsibility is imperative in everyone’s day to day life. A person has to be able to keep track of his tasks and duties, and he/she must perform them as required. One cannot expect someone else to keep track of them; therefore the intelligent person takes it upon themselves to be as responsible as possible. If someone lacks responsibility, it is their job to gain it. A leader or colleague may help, but said person cannot count upon this aid, but instead take it upon themselves to improve their character.
As per stated in an above paragraph, the antonym of responsibility is irresponsibility. This comes from the repeated pattern of events that would be considered irresponsible. A person who is irresponsible would be a person who consistently forgets tasks appointed to him, or does not complete them to their entirety within standards. This person is unlikely to be considered for a leadership position, and this person is also likely to push themselves into a deficit of character that leads to even bigger problems in their self development. He/she will not be able to be relied upon, and will not have trust put in them. Because I have plans in the future for my own development and wealth outside of the army, it is important that I define a plan of action for myself to improve my level of responsibility, so that this does not become of me.
This leads to an important question: What does responsibility mean to me? The ability to perform tasks competently and the character to be accountable for my own actions are imperative to my esteem and self growth. This is important as it plays a large role in self-improvement. With my future aspirations in life I must be responsible and accountable for my actions in all area, and to not do so would make me fail to achieve my goals. I must understand this. Because of this, if I fail to remember an appointment I made, I must realize that I have no one to blame but myself. And I must come to terms with the fact that I demonstrated a lack of responsibility in this instance, and that this is unacceptable. It need not be anyone else’s job to instill this upon myself. It must be within my own conscience to improve my character. With or without consequence, I must be able to realize my mistake and correct myself, for this in itself is responsibility at its core. Therefore, I hold myself accountable for my actions and accept the punishments given to me.
Because I acknowledge that the improvement of my levels of responsibility is very important, I also realize a need for a definitive plan to carry out this improvement. This plays back into the levels of definition for the word itself, i.e. that this means the care of implication of actions and events, and the accountability that follows. This means that the plan needs to be two-fold in order to be complete and effective. This may start with a more complete and carefully structured record of events and tasks. I need to keep better track of my tasks, through means of a manner or medium, e.g. a small notebook or sticky notes. I need to then take precise care in the execution of these tasks, so that it is instilled in myself that they are imperative and not to be forgotten.
With this in mind, it should no longer be an issue to forget appointments or similar tasks. Until I can keep a solid mental track of my tasks and events, I will carry a specific notepad with my instructions, dates, and details of any and all items that need my attention. I will not disregard tasks, but instead write down any and all items. With this, over time I should become more mindful of my responsibilities, and thus a more ‘well rounded’ individual with improved character. The second value in question would be the accountability aspect of responsibility. This is a more difficult value to improve with a definitive plan of action.
What may help in this aspect would be to write a note of critique following every completed task previously written down. These will be notes explaining the quality of my work, or lack thereof. This will reinforce accountability, and force me to come to terms with the quality of every task and event. This also gives me a baseline for improvement on several daily tasks, ultimately improving the quality of work at the same time. If I should forget to do these things, or if I notice that my level of responsibility is once again declining, I will take it upon myself to make another, more ridged plan of action to force myself into compliance. This is important because as creatures of habit we must keep things like these in practice. I must not only improve my character, but maintain its improvement. In summary, I will keep an active log of my tasks and events, and I will write feedback following these items upon their completion, whether good or bad.
This has concluded the full and vast scope of the value that is responsibility. This word has a lengthy and comprehensive definition, but I’ve summed it into two key ideas. One definition is the proper implantation and recording of tasks and events, the other means being able to be accountable. This involves accountability for actions, good deeds, and bad deeds. I’ve also discussed how this word is involved in more than just an individual. There is responsibility as a leader, and as a subordinate. There is responsibility as a group, and lastly, there is much responsibility for an individual. Responsibility means the same for these categories, even though the scope and implication of such may slightly differ. This value is important to be implemented by each category for the up keeping and improvement of society as a whole.
Upon the discussion of the meaning of responsibility and its importance, I’ve discussed what the word means to myself and how I plan to improve and upkeep this value in the future to retain my character and self improvement. This word means a way of quantifying one’s character. A person needs to have and retain responsibility in order to be a solid, reliable person. This includes in their own day to day life and in a professional setting. This means even more in the position of leadership since one is now responsible for people as well as events and tasks. I plan to be in a position of leadership and power in the future, so this means it is important I learn this now. I realize even more how unacceptable it is to lack this important value, and thus I have constructed a plan for myself.
This plan involved the recording and implication of all tasks and events. This also involves giving myself feedback upon their completion. That serves a purpose for the accountability aspect of responsibility. With this plan in motion, over time I will become more reliable with steadily less effort on my part as it becomes second nature. I will ultimately become a better person as a result.