Accountability is defined as willingness to accept responsibility: When we accept accountability willingly, it automatically becomes an obligation. The word willingly means, ‘I accept out of choice and not out of duress or pressure.’ They are all positive words that prevent negative consequences. None of them are corrective words. People deal with us based on their perception of our commitment to what we say. Only a person who holds himself accountable will work towards keeping commitments.
Lack of personal accountability has become an epidemic problem. Finger pointing and blaming others is the typical behavioural pattern of failures.
Imagine that in a restaurant you are served a dish different from the one you ordered. You ask the waiter how this mess happened. He replies, ‘Oops, people in the kitchen goofed up.’ Rather than accepting responsibility, he put the blame on somebody else.
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Accepting personal accountability solves problems and leads to astonishing results. Just like a poor sailor blames the wind, similarly people who don’t accept accountability make excuses, give justifications, complain, procrastinate, and carry a victim’s complex.
Accountability is a prerequisite to success. Good leaders and organisations establish accountability upfront. The outcome comes as a consequence. Accountability is the foundation to better relationships—it avoids unpleasant surprises and eventually leads to positive outcomes.
Where accountability is involved, seniors and juniors are equally accountable to one another. The objective of accountability is to help each other perform at a higher level and succeed, rather than pull each other down.
Holding someone accountable can also be unpleasant. Many times, we are afraid to hold others accountable. It appears like a let-down or a put down. People want to avoid friction as accountability does bring friction. Where does it bring friction? It brings friction where one or both parties are not willing to accept responsibility and be accountable. That is where people feel let down and friction erupts. If we want to grow, the only way is to become accountable and to hold others accountable.
Not holding the incompetent accountable for their actions only brings an abundance of incompetence.