I’ve run into people in the past that believe taking responsibility for one’s actions somehow makes non-performance OK. It doesn’t. It’s like Michael Vick saying, "I'm here to say I'm willing to deal with the consequences and accept responsibility for my actions,” as if that were anything more than an attempt to receive leniency from the court which just provided him with 23 months of new duds -.black and white stripes, no less.

What if your spouse had an affair, and came to you with the line, “I take complete responsibility for my actions”? Was that an apology or just an in-your-face challenge? Workers, professional athletes, husbands or wives: people like that don’t get it.

Sure, some would call me hardcore on this topic. I’m not talking about the occasional slip-up at work. I’m talking about the employee that continually messes up and politely accepts responsibility, getting ready to skate off to the next SNAFU. When review time comes around this year, ask yourself a hard question: “Am I getting better at my job, or just getting by?”