Monday, 26 September 2011

Who carries responsibility for action within a group?

Recently I was at a meeting where at least two-thirds of the items on the agenda were things that I needed to talk to and were about things I had either done or papers I had written.  There was an issue where I had not done something and had not done it for about a year.  One person kept on about this.  This person had not done anything as far as I could remember between meetings.  I was very apologetic.  But this did not cut much ice.  I said that it was on the list and it was clear from what I had already done that my list was long (and getting longer!).

As I drove away I was reflecting on times in my life when people have been a bit more supportive.  When friends have just done things - they've invited themselves to stay and re-tiled my bathroom, spent some holiday helping me decorate the hall and stairs, made me sit down whilst they washed up/cooked/did the garden.  They are people whose response is to do - to recognise that something needs doing and not necessarily in their lives - and to do it.  'Why,'I thought, 'did no-one at this meeting say, "Louise you have enough to do, you have done too much already, I will do this"?'

It is so much easier to see a job as belonging to 'you' rather than to' us'.  I will get onto doing this job but it would be interesting to wait to see how long it would take before someone actually steps in and volunteers to get it done.

In our own communities do we see each job as belonging to someone rather than to us as a community?  Do we think that we are there to support each other rather than to criticise.  Sure there are times when individuals fall short but there are also times when we as communities fall short.  We do not make sure the job gets done but we do make sure that the blame gets attributed.  This can isolate people, make them feel unappreciated, make them feel resentful and ultimately may not get the job done.  Let us take more co-operative approaches and focus on how to get the work done.  Let us make our response to problems much more about action than about words.

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