Ownership vs. Territorial: Becoming Familiar with the Difference

The concept of ownership is essential to a healthy team. It is a quality to admire in any employee, supervisor, leader, volunteer, or in a family—in every child. A person who takes ownership invests his or her whole heart into the vision, the task, the culture, or the mission at hand. When something can be described as mine it triggers responses of accountability that are not present from a position of yours.

 

Workers and leaders who possess the quality of ownership are:

 

  • Self-motivated—they don’t need lots of time-wasting, unnecessary supervisory oversight, because they are driven to take a healthy initiative, without being told everything they need to do.
  • Unwilling to rely on excuses for not being responsible.
  • Trustworthy and faithful.
  • Willing to go the extra mile. No! More than just willing—they GO the extra mile!
  • Dedicated to excellence.

A strong sense of ownership drives a person to find ways to do things better, faster, and less expensively.

 

Ownership at Home

 

  • Dishes left in the sink again!
  • Stuff left on the steps and not taken upstairs where they belong!
  • Blankets left unfolded and not put away!
  • Not to mention, empty juice glasses on the floor!
  • Mom will do it, right? Wrong!

Kids, let’s gather in the kitchen…I want to teach you about ownership. Part of your training for life is realizing that this home is yours, too. Everyone has a part in making life at home run smoothly. Unloading the dishwasher is your responsibility; picking up paper falling on the floor is your job; changing the toilet paper roll after you use the last frame is your blessed duty. In this home, all things that need doing are not necessarily Mom and Dad’s job, and you’ll help—but only when asked. We all give and take—together.

 

One of My Best Lessons

 

One of the best lessons I ever taught my children was called, 12 Vital Principles of a Worthy Servant. I took it from Luke 10:17, 

 

So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, “We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.”


Nothing Less Than Ownership

 

Creating a kingdom culture requires the knowledge of ownership. As leaders in the culture, we must guide those we lead to nothing less than a culture of ownership—each individual giving their whole heart to the tasks before them and going the extra mile for the success of the mission.

Understandably, few individuals have been crafted into model team players in their life’s journey. But when ownership is a clearly defined core value of an organization, we have a platform to call people up to the culture of ownership and train them in the values that accompany it.

 

A Poison Counterfeit—Territorialism

 

Watch and don’t be deceived by a crafty, lurking villain disguised as ownership, but indeed, it is not! 

 

Territorialism is a counterfeit of ownership. Sometimes it looks the same, but it never is. Often, it takes time and process to discover that someone is being territorial. A person who displays healthy ownership works as if he or she owns it, but a territorial person takes control. Territorial people protect their own department to the detriment of other departments. For a territorial worker, they borrow identity from the task they do, and therefore, suggestions and directives involving change threaten their control and, as a result, their identity. Territorial workers are quite often productive workers, but they poison the shared vision by creating separation, resisting authority, and protecting their own work from intruders who may alter what they are doing or how they are doing it. They work in a team, but only in as far as they have control over their sphere of responsibility.

 

Territorial people poison the culture. Because it often takes stern measures to manage a territorial worker, they make others, especially their authorities, appear controlling. That is because it takes healthy control to manage unhealthy control. That last sentence is worth reading again!

Territorial people usually see a cup “half empty” instead of “half full.” They point out what is wrong, instead of seeing themselves as a catalyst for improvement.

 

How to Deal With a Territorial Team Member

 

First, leaders must confront territorialism. Territorial people will dig deep roots of disrespect in an organization if their unacceptable habits are not brought into subjection. The issue is that the root of their problem is not necessarily how they do things. The problem is that their self-protection and insecurity define who they are. Dealing with what they do can be, in a kingdom culture, an incredible opportunity to help territorial people from the inside—in the heart—so they don’t feel the need to borrow an identity on the outside.

 

In your own words, define what “healthy ownership” means (using as many adjectives as you can).

 

This blog post is an excerpt of my new book, “Kingdom Culture.” To learn more about vital leadership skills, grab your copy today on Amazon.

or from my publisher.

 

 

P.S. Bruce Lengeman is currently available for speaking engagements.  Please visit BruceLengeman.com or email info@brucelengeman.com for more information.

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