Tap into the Blessing (and Avoiding the Potential Curse) of Uber-Responsible Employees

The Strength of Responsibility

Having responsible employees seems like a huge advantage, right? They’re honest, reliable, take ownership, and have the excellent type of follow-through that gets things done!

But if you’ve had the type of employees for whom Responsibility is a top CliftonStrength, you know that sometimes it can be a burden. For many of them the weight of responsibility—the burning desire to get the task done, as assigned, on time, and correctly, and to expect the same from others—may cause them internal strife and lead to disruption on your team.

Their motto might best be described as “If you can’t do it right, don’t do it.”


What this looks like in practice

An example of how this manifests became apparent when I held a workshop for a team of over 40 employees. Amazingly, over 70% of them had Responsibility as one of their top 5 CliftonStrengths.

The great thing about this team is that they love to get things done. If they’re asked to make 10 phone calls, and they do, they feel incredibly happy that they’ve met their commitment. If they aren’t able to complete all 10 calls for any reason, however, they feel terribly upset. It’s as if they’ve personally failed the person who gave them the assignment.

Although this attribute seems similar to employees who have Achiever as one of their top 5 CliftonStrengths, it differs in that those employees would be upset because they didn’t hit the goal and they really, really like to check those boxes. By contrast, someone with Responsibility as a top CliftonStrength would be upset because they weren’t able to complete an assignment they committed to complete—they feel as though they’ve disappointed the team and themselves. As a manager, it’s important to recognize those differences and handle them accordingly.


How can you best manage it?

I spent a lot of time that day coaching the team through various situations. We talked about how everyone can’t get everything done perfectly and on time, all of the time. I had them focus on the idea that they can absolutely do their best every day, but sometimes that’s all they can do: their best. And if that means not completing something on time, on occasion, that’s okay.

The flip side of that coin is helping them understand that the same is true for other team members. For people with Responsibility as a top CliftonStrength, it’s hard to be gracious or show understanding when someone else on the team falls short or fails to deliver something as promised. We discussed handling those situations in context and explored how employees can work together for optimum team results, even when conditions are less than ideal.


Does this sound like something that could help your team?

I’d love to work with you to help your employees understand their natural talents and how to turn them into strengths. We’ll focus on empowering them to use their differing strengths as a team, creating more cohesiveness, less divisiveness, and improving performance along the way.  

Schedule an information meeting today and find out what Millennial Guru can do for your team!



Paige Cornetet