Conscientiousness: Taking Responsibility for Personal Performance

Restaurant Impossible is a reality television show most people can relate to since dining out is not only a favorite pastime but also necessary for many individuals in today’s busy society.  The host of the show, Robert Irvine, and his talented team renovate failing restaurants in an astounding 48-hours—décor, menus, and customer service are totally revamped.  But inevitably the most successful turnarounds occur when the proprietors, many of whom have been struggling for years, take responsibility for their personal performance.

Taking responsibility for personal performance also happens to correspond to LEADon’s® definition for the essential EQ characteristic of Conscientiousness. Like Robert Irvine, the LEADon® team has seen the spectrum of Conscientiousness as we have worked with leaders around the globe—and we’ve witnessed similar success or continued failure for people who either take or refuse to take responsibility for their performance.

For example, years ago we worked with a Corporate Family® full of talented individuals that should have been performing well as engineers in a large metropolitan area.  Instead, they were struggling to stay profitable after years of previous success.   The LEADon® team was contacted on the third year of this downward spiral, which happened to coincide with the tenure of the current CEO.  As we talked to that leader, he blamed the teams for their failure to communicate with one another.  The team leaders blamed the new CEO for their communication and morale problems. It seemed no one in that company was willing to take responsibility for performance—or lack thereof.

Fortunately for this organization, many of the leaders were eventually able to recognize their level of Conscientiousness needed to improve. And this is one of the amazing aspects about EQ (Emotional Quotient)—all twenty-five characteristics that comprise your EQ can be developed over time.  Conscientiousness alone is vital for accomplishing your goals, personally and professionally, and it’s critical for the success of your team and Corporate Family®.

As experts point out, “people high in this trait are disciplined, high-achieving, and dependable” and  Conscientiousness also “influences whether people set and keep long-range goals, deliberate over choices, behave cautiously or impulsively, and take obligations to others seriously” (  The positive turnaround in the engineering company occurred as individuals identified their weaknesses in specific EQ characteristics, especially Conscientiousness, and then they intentionally applied strategies to address those areas that needed development.  Sadly, the CEO refused to take such responsibility, and the remainder of his tenure, while short, negatively impacted those who were striving to improve.

So, how can you and your team begin the renovation process when it comes to Conscientiousness? Here are a few strategies to get started:

  1. Have every team member take the Developing Emotional Competency Questionnaire® (DECQ®).  This thirty-minute online assessment will provide immediate results on strengths and weaknesses for all twenty-five EQ characteristics.  The DECQ® not only allows you to assess your individual EQ abilities, but your team and entire Corporate Family® can also evaluate one another (the DECQ® can be accessed at
  2. At LEADon University®, you will find over thirty online courses that address a wide array of leadership development needs. For Conscientiousness, we recommend LEADers Set Effective G.O.A.L.S.® and LEADers Walk the Talk®.
  3. Ask individuals in your personal and professional “spheres of influence” for feedback using these questions:
  • Do I take responsibility for my personal performance? Please give some examples.
  • Do I keep my commitments, especially regarding promises and goals?
  • Am I cautious or impulsive about choices that need to be made?
  • Can you give me an example of when I’ve been dependable? How about when I haven’t?
  1. Talk to a qualified mentor about ways to improve your level of Conscientiousness. If you don’t have a mentor, look for an individual who not only is willing to invest time with you and hold you accountable but also role models the EQ characteristics you need to work on (refer to your DECQ® report for any EQ characteristics that require attention).

Of course, the team at LEADon® is also here to help you, your team, and your entire Corporate Family® with any of your leadership needs.  Please contact us for a free consultation at 858.592.0700 or visit us at