Do people need responsibility in order to grow?

A common discussion piece is that there is a general fall in social behaviours across all age groups and there is a school of thought – rightly or wrongly – that argues that men especially are becoming increasingly immature in behaviours and in how they behave and that we see more man boys than ever.

By Chris Sheppardson, Managing Director, EP

Maybe true; maybe not – I suspect this has always been the case. However there is a strong argument that as life has become more process driven, controlled, compliance led – this does mean that so many just follow what lies in front of them and they do not need to feel any responsibility towards their customer, towards their colleagues and even into the broader community. Is it a coincidence that many feel exasperated as they engage with call centres, customer services teams who follow a process with no real lateral thought for more than lies on their screens?

The base argument is that maybe people need to be given responsibility for others, which is an important part of the psyche – that by reducing responsibility it naturally creates a fall in behaviours?

Maybe we need to find the balance once again between systems, process, compliance and empowering individuals to provide a real service?

That empowering individuals to lead a team is important and has an importance that lies just behind management but in culture, friendship, trust, care, compassion and a focus on people.

A couple of evenings ago, I was sitting at a dinner with some City professionals who all yearned for yesteryear when they could spend time with their customers and noted how they could not wait to retire as work life was becoming increasingly pressurised, process led and tense. Isn’t it a touch sad when the customer is being removed from being the central No1 priority of a service? The customer is often seen today as almost a threat rather than being an asset to be cared for.

It is all about balance of course as Amazon provide exceptional customer care and provide service levels that do break boundaries. Amazon Prime has to be of one of the best value service propositions ever invented with Prime Video, Prime music and One day delivery all for £79 per year. It is little wonder that Amazon has become a highly valued part of daily life by the customer. Can one say that same about the service from banks, Insurance companies, energy companies or mobile companies.

Service makes a huge difference to daily life and to create great service, teams need to be given responsibility to make a difference to their customer – to listen to their issues, show due care and make a difference. This in turn builds trust from customer to supplier and also self-respect from those given responsibility.

We need to strive to find balance where once again we empower the young. If we want them to grow, they need responsibility as responsibility makes people grow in thought and deed.

There is a fall in trust in leadership across all areas. Forbes Magazine note that 63 % of employees across the world do not trust their leadership. Maybe the fault lies with leadership but more with the dominance of process and compliance and in truth there is a general lack of trust today in service levels, in fairness, in compassion, in being heard? Maybe there is an onus on all that we listen and try to understand the issues and create new solutions so that we raise the bar?