Recently, I heard the term “accountable” used as a desirable trait for a person to have. Especially when they are working with others. Either on a team, in a board room, or on a project. We all want to work with people who do what they are asked to do, who accept responsibility, and embrace the results – good or bad. Accountability infers that someone will ge the work done.
We hear it as well in our news feeds. More regularly than before. Yet there is a difficult side to this concept we miss. Needing reflection to reveal its difficulty.
The difficult side of accountability refers to our lack of self-reflection as to whether we can conform to the definition of accountability we are asking of others. More importantly, do we live a life where we practice regularly accountability? Is it right for us to expect accountability if we do not habitually practice it in our lives?
How accountable do we hold ourselves for the promises we make? The accomplishment of goals we boast of? Towards the responsibilities we have been given and accepted? The truth is that it’s very difficult to always do, given our many roles & responsibilities.
Do we always give our total focus and effort to what is asked of us until completion? Does the level and depth of effort always match the level of accountability expected of us? Or do we tire easily, dismiss often, and hide from what is asked of us to do? Use procrastination to put off doing what is expected of us hoping time will make us & others forget what is important for us to do?
Also, what is the standard we use to measure ourselves with respect to accountability? It always feels like we set the standard higher when it refers to others. Not ourselves. Could we follow the same definition for accountability we describe as necessary in others?
We need to better integrate accountability into our own personal lives before expecting it of others. Following through on our commitments, both verbal and internal, is important in bringing a cadence and a consistency into our lives. By not only creating trust, but helping us build the confidence to work through any issues we face knowing that we truly are accountable to ourselves through completion.