I AM Accountable towards Others and Speak my Truth Harmlessly.
In leadership roles, accountability is the acknowledgment and assumption of personal responsibility for one’s actions, products, decisions, and policies including the administration, governance, and implementation within the scope of the role or the position of influence and power made over others. Accountability encompasses the ethical conduct necessary to model integrity through being answerable towards the resulting consequences of one’s choices and actions, especially in regard to the impact made upon others, or impact made to a group, organization or impact to planetary resources. Accountability cannot exist without the proper ethical model to understand that being responsible for one’s actions, thoughts and deeds, has consequences that are a result of the decisions that are made. In other words, an absence of accounting for decisions and choices that are being made means, there is an absence of accountability. Without accountability, there can be no integrity nor trustworthiness present. This is also an accurate statement when determining the quality that one will experience in their personal life, family dynamics, career and in every social interaction and communication they engage in. This principle is required in both the macrocosm and the microcosm relationships of our life. The importance of committing to personal accountability as a developed character trait and skillset in order to improve one’s life conditions in every possible way, cannot be underestimated.
Have we lost the trait of being accountable? What would someone say about your accountability? Has it become so commonplace to embellish everything we say?
Accountability is an ethical model and character standard that expresses you, and only you, are totally responsible for your actions. The willingness to be accountable for what you do and what you don't do (or refuse to do) is a significant trait of your moral character.
Many people confuse responsibility and accountability as being one in same. In the practical reality, they are character traits that are more like two sides of the same coin. Being accountable has more to do with giving up certain ego defense behaviors, such as negative beliefs and attitudes, than just making an effort to behave or relate to others in a different way. One of the most common ego defense mechanisms used to avoid personal accountability or responsibility is to become upset, blaming others or to have a tantrum. When a person goes into tantrum mode or gets upset, obviously, they can no longer effectively handle the matter. They have gone “unconscious”. When a person goes unconscious and engages in tantrums, they are now fodder for dark and negative energies in the vicinity. This is a common ego defense to avoid facing the truth of the matter or the task at hand and to avoid any attention being placed upon the person’s accountability to their actions. It’s a diversion tactic made by the unconscious or conscious personality. This is done by simply tuning someone out, or by having a mental conversation while someone is attempting to point out how you could have assumed greater responsibility or accountability. Some of us may be reminded of occurrences such as these with our significant relationships, partners or spouse. Yet another ego defense is playing the role of victim-victimizer in order to escape or detract from personal accountability. When people are unwilling to look at something or be accountable they will commonly say expressions in the victim-unconscious roles such as “I can’t” and “I’m unable.” If they are master manipulators they will usually use doublespeak to confuse the truth in the issue and turn around the responsibility to the weaker person or less dominating party. Sometimes, being personally accountable to one’s actions and the willingness to tell the truth, simply involves courage.
Do you have the necessary courage to exhibit personal accountability? One may want to examine the consequences associated with being accountable and responsible before answering. First, accountability means you are responsible to somebody or for something. Second, being responsible means that you cause something to happen. Third, by exhibiting accountability, as seen through the eyes of the people around you, may look like the following:
- Accepting complete responsibility for your behavior.
- Meeting/exceeding agreed upon expectations in an agreed upon role or position.
- Admitting mistakes and taking steps to correct them.
- Admitting limitations of knowledge or skills in certain areas.
Accepting responsibility is being fully aware of exerting control of one’s behavior through one’s choices. Additionally, one accepts the consequences of the choices one makes while taking responsibility for what may be perceived as positive or negative experiences that come with those choices.
Integrity, or doing what is right, because that is the right thing to do, is the epitome of accepting responsibility. We all have much to gain by exhibiting personal accountability in our personal and professional life. Some of these are listed below:
- You become a person that can be trusted.
- You are respected by people around you. Your words or actions hold credibility.
- You send the message that you are willing to do whatever is necessary for the success of the group/team/organization.
- You are a person with strong moral and ethical character.
- You can be trusted to complete challenging projects and meaningful assignments.
- What kind of person do you want to be?
Personal freedom begins and ends with responsibility and accountability. Personal accountability is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to contribute to the world, contribute to the human race and the organization of which we are a part. It is the opportunity to be counted as trustworthy among the other people inside our organization and for whom we truly hold caring respect. It is our opportunity to ask, “What can I do to contribute?” and “How can I make a difference?“. If our spiritual and other organizations foster an environment that values integrity, trustworthiness, honesty and courage, personal accountability truly presents all of us with a vast opportunity to grow while serving others.
Below are a few exercises that we can work on:
Tell the truth. Many times we may make the mistake to believe that saying a “little white lie” is better than to risk hurting feelings or dealing with someone else’s judgment of our behavior. Maybe we are in fear and afraid to face the consequences. When we engage in lying about something or we try to cover it up, this deceitful action will always boomerang and make the situation much worse. When deceit is used to manipulate or cover up, it snowballs into a larger problem and sucks time and energy. Save yourself some time and protect your energies by telling the truth.
Monitor yourself. Are you accountable for your actions even if nobody holds you accountable -- or nobody catches you? Of course you are. If you do not think so then you are cheating on yourself. You are the person who will ultimately suffer the consequence of your actions. Even if you cannot visibly see the consequence of your action today, there is always a consequence that will show up either now or later on.
Go within. When you have conflicts or trouble in relationships or situations, look in the mirror first. Ask the question to yourself, “What is the problem here?” “What am I doing or not doing to solve this issue, and what can I improve upon?”. In many interpersonal communications with every social aspect, whether its communicating with family, friends, or acquaintances, personal accountability is sorely lacking and urgently needed. Accountability is not just a mindset but is an important skill set that everyone can learn and should master. Choose personal accountability and own it. This commitment will always eventually reveal a much more positive situation for everybody involved.
(Source Adapted from: Wikipedia, http://www.byrdbaggett.com, http://www.huffingtonpost.com)