The reality television show Parking Wars is an interesting way to learn about human reaction in crisis, frustration and about how people accept (or don't accept) responsibility.

One evening I popped into the show briefly. During the portion I watched I observed a young woman state that she had received seven parking tickets after parking in the same No Parking Zone several times. These seven tickets totaled $281.00 plus the fee to impound the car, as a result of the seven unpaid tickets. The fee to park in the underground parking lot across the road would have been $7.50 per day. However, what I found most interesting was her dialogue with the Impound Officer and her friend. She engaged in several intense conversations with them about whose responsibility and problem her situation actually was. Somehow this young woman had convinced herself that it was the Ticket Officer's problem. She was full of excuses, blame and even personal put downs about the Ticket Officer. In her eyes the officer was somehow being unreasonable or unfair by making her take responsibility for her circumstances.

This same scenario plays out in workplaces all the time. Someone makes a mistake or a bad choice, and rather than own it and accept responsibility, fingers start pointing and blame and excuses fuel the dialogue. This practice, commonly known as "passing the buck", serves no purpose and only creates even more difficult situations with which co-workers, supervisors, and managers must contend with.

There are clear benefits of owning your choices, actions and decisions:

-It demonstrates that you have integrity
-Owning up shows that you are not perfect and that you are not ashamed or afraid to admit your mistakes
-Relationships are maintained instead of becoming strained
-You can change the behavior for next time or to improve the current situation
-Owning your actions reduces the chance of the same mistake(s) occurring again
-There is learning and growth, both for you and for those affected by the situation

The benefits of owning your choice and actions far outweigh blame, excuses and putting the responsibility onto others. Workplace environments that foster respect, acceptance, and trust provide the "safety zone" for team members to effectively handle mistakes and own their actions.
The next time you make a mistake and find yourself in a difficult situation, make the right choice. Admit your error and work with those affected to make the situation right. Remember, we all make mistakes.

Author's Bio: 

Charmaine Hammond, MA, BA, is an international transformational speaker, helping people live inspired, resilient lives and is a leading trainer in corporate North America helping transform workplaces. Charmaine is also an award winning and bestselling author of On Toby's Terms (Bettie Youngs Books, Sept. 2010), Toby the Pet Therapy Dog & His Hospital Friends (Bettie Youngs Books, Aug 2011), and Bounce Forward (Hammond International Publishing, April 2011)