business responsibility

“Organizations that empower folks further down the chain or try to get rid of the big hierarchal chains and allow decision making to happen on a more local level end up being more adaptive and resilient because there are more minds involved in the problem”. Steven Johnson

Slopey Shoulders syndrome is where a person consistently attempts to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions or those around them. Most of us associate it with a lack of care factor, a fear of taking on something that may get negative feedback, or an easy way to avoid making challenging decisions relating to work that you may or may not be responsible for. I think most of us have experienced this in one way or another.
Giving others within your teams and businesses the opportunity to take ownership of the workflow is a powerful tool. Being empowered to step up and take on work safe in the knowledge that your team around you have your back, is coming from a place of strength. Feeling you have the support to take on challenging situations, will see you want to take these on. It also allows you to add your strengths to a project and allow the more senior people to spend more time on things at their level.  
Here are 3 ways to remove the perception of Slopey Shoulder syndrome:

  1. What is the Ultimate impact – by looking at the potential outcomes and asking what will the impact be on the team/business before the individual, the responsibility stays with the team rather than the individual  

  2. It is what it is so how can I make it work – “When life throws you lemons…. make lemonade” is a commonly used quote. By focussing on what you can do now to get a great outcome, means you make a great outcome possible

  3. If I communicate clearly, those ultimately responsible will recognise the effort – true leaders will praise the process as well as the result. Clearly establishing the expectations up front will give opportunity to praise and validate performance & results achieved

Those who choose to “delegate” responsibility also lose the ability to be recognised for potential successes. To most leaders, stepping up to the plate and raising the standard in an effort to get a result is equally as important as the final result. So once you’ve clearly communicated the standards and expectations up front, be that person who takes on a less than stellar project, the “dog with fleas” piece of work and show your willingness to make things work.

Please forward to those in your networks who will get value from our tips. If you’d like some assistance to implement these, send us a note at and we’d love to chat about adding value for you.

Have an awesome week!

Paul Farmer
Managing Director