Responsibility – a forgotten concept becoming necessary, like oxygen for all living beings

It all starts and ends with an individual. The responsibility of an Individual is to be a building block of the collective. Even if we are part of a collective – the team or something wider, we must keep in mind that the responsibility begins with ourselves. We cannot expect from our surroundings to be responsible if we ourselves do not have a basic sense of what it means to stand behind our decisions, with all the positive and negative consequences. You could even say that responsibility is an eternal process of making both oneself and the consequences of one’s decisions.

As a coach, my main job is to remind or help the trainee to build a sense of responsibility. Responsibility is not just the ability to take on negative consequences, due to one’s decision, but much more. Responsibility is above all an understanding of the fact that we are never excluded from the decision-making process, rather the co-creators of it. In the SSKJ (Dictionary of Slovenian Literary Language), responsibility is defined as “a characteristic of a person who strives to satisfy norms, to meet requirements and duties”. This definition hides a positive framework of responsibility and, above all, offers an extension for a healthy business environment.

We often encounter the basic definitions of a company or organization. And we also often encounter different ideas about ​​what truly is the basic mission of such a form of human socializing and action. According to Friedman, an organization is dedicated to itself and its profit, and can basically not be held responsible for anything. Of course, such a concept of a business entity is very insufficient, so it is necessary to take the basic mission holistically – both from a man’s point of view and from the environment’s point of view.

The holistic aspect of responsibility, is actually the responsibility in business. This is the responsibility to employees, shareholders, subcontractors, suppliers and other stakeholders in the business process that represent the business environment. Corporate social responsibility is gaining in importance due to the consequences that companies leave in the environment, through their business, product, production, etc. To understand better, try to imagine the consequences of an oil company. Little is known about those kinds of companies, but we all know the personal benefits we have at the expense of this company. Our car moves at the expense of the service and product of this company. But what are the consequences of this relationship? Because there is a consensus between the two parties about the positive effects, the negative ones are somehow pushed into the background, as the comfort that both parties receive is more intense than the negative consequences of the same relationship. That is the psychological aspect.

There are, however, many more layers of this kind of relationship. All the damage that occurs is far away in the future and out of sight, so it often seems that there are no negative consequences of such an attitude. That, of course, is not the case. Not only is it not true, it is also crucial to think about all the negative results, coming from my/our behaviour and the way we coexist with our surroundings. 

Social responsibility is the domain of many individuals, who act as a group with the same interest. This is why the impact of the individual is much greater than it seems, at first glance. It is important to be self-aware, to understand how an individual acts when he is not tempted, what his beliefs are, and above all how he uses his group resources to impact the environment both directly and indirectly.

Social responsibility is increasingly translating into human responsibility. Responsibility is reflected in both mental and physical health, in relationships at work and outside of it. Responsible behavior is ecological, effective, and above all, it expresses a high level of empathy, which is what the raw business world lacks. 

Individual responsibility is the key to the success of social responsibility.

Author: Igor Vlačič, NeuroAgencija