The wall had already been taken out but the electrical was a mess so they were in need of a contractor. Trusting his neighbors recommendation he gave Dave a call and he showed up with his team to take a look and bid the project. Pleased with his quote he hired Dave’s team and was excited they could start right away.
Moving the wall was one thing but addressing the electrical work took more time. Dave brought in his trusted electrician and he came up with a plan to rewire and reroute most of the wiring. Within a week the electrician had completed the work and then the rest of the work could be done. They were ahead of schedule so the homeowners were elated.
Late one evening the homeowners wife was making a pot of tea on the stove and smelled something burning. She checked the stove and turned it off but still smelled it. She walked around the corner and saw small flames coming from the wiring within the bundle of wires the electrician had just reassembled. She yelled for her husband and he came running down the stairs as she grabbed the fire extinguisher from underneath the kitchen sink. He grabbed it from her, sprayed and was able to put the flames out.
Due to it being so late he chose to turn the electricity off from that zone and call Dave in the morning. As he made that phone call the next morning Dave scoffed and said nothing like that had ever happened before and it has to be something within the old wiring in their old house. He told the homeowners to call their insurance company and handle it that way.
As shocking as it is Dave and his team did not take responsibility for the accident. Had they, the homeowners would have continued to work with him and been able to work through a difficult situation. However, the homeowners chose to never talk to Dave again until they sued him and thus found out that the electrician he had brought in wasn’t licensed.
Responsibility can mean simply apologizing for a mistake that you took part in. Or, it can mean a feeling that you have in regard to taking care of someone else. It always comes back to taking ownership of something or having control over someone.
When someone is humble enough to take responsibility for a mistake it brings a relationship to a whole new level. Trust is elevated and both parties feel safer because they are honest and open. If you have ever experienced someone taking responsibility for something that hurt you, it is a feeling you will never forget. Likewise, if you’ve ever been wronged and left vulnerable in front of someone who refuses to take responsibility that is also a moment you will never forget.
Taking responsibility is important for growth both personally and organizationally. Creating an environment that encourages responsibility starts with self awareness and open communication. When a team feels safe they will have no issue taking responsibility for their actions.
How can you encourage responsibility?