Bob Proctor has correctly said, “Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result.“
Accountability is a value, a quintessential life skill that every human being must own. But, first, let’s uncover what accountability is? Understanding and owning up to one’s actions.
Taking responsibility for one’s actions boosts the person both professionally and personally.
We can also name it a self-driven skill because no one except you can instill this skill in you. It is beyond just owning mistakes or wrongdoings. It is high time that we declare it an essential soft skill because it comes with values like courage and commitment.
Accountability is about your career, relationships, attitude, choices, actions, and reactions. Unlike responsibility, accountability is about people. You are responsible for things, and you are accountable to people. Let’s look at some examples to gain some insight.
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Let’s say Alex was to submit the final draft of an article today at the conference, but for some reason, he could not. Now, the conference has no significant subject left as there exists no article.
Two things can happen here. Either the person ghosts on everyone and not be present in the boardroom to take responsibility for his actions at all. Or he shows up at the conference, apologizes, and willingly holds himself accountable for not delivering on time.
Now, anyone even a tad bit professional would go for the second one because it gives you a chance to be truthful. The second might land you a second chance as well and save you from losing your job.
This sense of ‘I’ve a lot of time’ and ‘I can do it whenever I want’ never lets you lift your business off the ground. It keeps you interested enough, but you never get to define a course of action to achieve those dreams. There’s always a tomorrow, right?
Think 1000 times before making a decision. Go over it again and again, think it through, but do all of it before and never after. Say a girl, Katy is not very fond of her job. She discusses it with her friends. Her friends, like anyone else, communicated in a diplomatic language. They chose not to have any influence on this crucial decision.
Soon Katy decides to quit her job. It was not much longer before being unemployed got to her head. Financial issues made her realize the mistake, and the blame game started. In such a case, Katy herself is accountable and not her friends. It was entirely her decision.
Whatever decisions you make in life are all yours. Things go south, you are accountable, and if plain sailing still, it is all you.
If you’re not going out of the way to keep yourself away from distractions, chances are you won’t be able to get anything done. There will always be something you would want to do more, and that false sense of security of having ‘tomorrow’ will lure you in.
Accountability holds colleagues together. Why? Let’s see another example. Katy is the founder of an Ad agency. The agency is working on a big project for an old client. Something comes up, and Katy leaves the project a day before the deadline making her junior, Richard.
Richard, who is not aware of the details half as good as Katy. He bungles the presentation, making the client furious. The client threatens to disassociate.
A good, professional leader would save Richard from being the bait and step forward to take accountability for everything and accept the disassociation. Doing this will make the bond between the employee and the CEO stronger, as he would respect her for standing up without worrying about the consequences.
Accountability connects people. It makes people trust and respect each other.
On the other hand, some people are too perfectionist to delegate. They don’t get that sense of ultimate satisfaction until they’ve done everything by themselves. Consequently, they get caught up in too much work, which again means delays, declining quality of work or worse, a total burnout.
Say a couple, Miles and Gwen had to be at their daughter’s play. But, they had a communication gap and could not discuss the meeting point and time efficiently. They got late and reached after the play was over. Obviously, they could not keep their commitments of being present to watch their daughter act.
Lack of good and clear communication will create a problematic situation and sabotage your relationships in the long term.
Who is to be held accountable? We cannot tell. That is why it is essential to maintain a good conversation to avoid such a scenario. Lack of good communication creates accountability gaps. Specify and clarify.
Managing your resources as well as time is a skill not everyone has. One of the reasons why many people fail to get things done, at least the ones that matter.
Like every other value, accountability adds to life. It starts at home and spreads to all other settings. The examples mentioned above are real and can happen to anyone. Learn from other people’s experiences so you can sail better through yours.
Accountability is about commitment, speaking what you do, and doing what you speak. If it happens otherwise, hold yourself accountable. Set your standards accordingly.
Accountable people never let the negative take over the positive. They learn from experiences instead of running away from them. Incorporating accountability in your lives will make you productive, positive, and emulous.