5 Ways to Take Ownership at Work

Pressuring people creates compliance – only while they’re being watched.

Tasks can be imposed.

Ownership is taken freely, or it’s not taken at all.

Ownership involves two people, a leader who gives it and a person who takes it. Meddling leaders haven’t given ownership. Unwilling followers haven’t taken ownership.

Image of a waterfall in Iceland.

Ownership is taken freely, or it's not taken at all.

5 Ways to Take Ownership at Work

#1. Belong to a team.

The restaurant on Navy Pier in Chicago was swamped July 4th. I noticed one server who seemed to be everywhere and doing everything. She seated guests, cleaned tables, delivered food, answered the phone, and checked on customers with a smile.  I asked her why she was working so hard and she said, “I can’t let my team down.”

Owners respect the impact of their actions.

Owners feel responsible.

#2. Aspire to get ahead.

View ownership as a way to earn opportunity. You might not enjoy your job but own it. If you don’t, you may be stuck doing it.

If owning it doesn’t earn you an opportunity here, it will earn one somewhere else.

#3. Think of the ‘money’.

What motivates you? The pay off might be cash, honor, or self-respect.

Think of what you might lose when you’re seduced by drifting.

What do people like you do in this situation?

#4. Personal growth and mastery.

Go all-in so you can master new skills and develop new relationships.

What skills will you learn if you give it your best?

#5. Make decisions within your scope of authority.

Grab the bull by the horns, as long as you’re reasonably confident you aren’t causing harm.

Consider the impact of your decisions on others.

Don’t violate ethical standards.

Act in the best interests of others.

Owners go for it.

Why do some people take ownership while others drift?

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