In the past few weeks, several times I have heard this phrase, “I can’t hold myself accountable.” Another person even said, “I don’t have a problem letting myself down, so I need somebody else to hold me accountable because I won’t let them down.” Why is it so difficult for some of us to hold ourselves accountable? Why is it easier to count on somebody else to hold us responsible for our own goals? Is it because it’s easier to blame somebody else if we don’t quite make it to the goal line?
What is Accountability?
Okay, I don’t normally go to Wikipedia for resources, however, this time, I liked the definition that site provides: “Accountability is a concept in ethics and governance with several meanings. It is often used synonymously with such concepts as responsibility, answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and other terms associated with the expectation of account-giving.” Personal accountability is an important piece in the plan to stay on track to achieve your goals.
There are some tools people use to help me stay accountable for their actions. A “To-Do-List” for example, helps one stay on track. It’s always in front of you and you will like to see things crossed off so it keeps me accountable. Others have questions on their desk that they ask themselves daily – those questions help keep them accountable for their personal goals. I have a friend has a checklist he uses at the end of each day and he calls his list “AP” for Accountability Partner. The check list consists of his daily goals and at the end of the day, he checks yes or no. If there is a no, he takes a few minutes to assess why he didn’t do what he said he would do and writes about what he’ll do the next day to make up for it.
Holding yourself Accountable
I would be a very, very wealthy man if I had nickel for all the times I’ve heard people in the workplace fault everyone else. I’m sure you’ve heard it, “THEY don’t care enough…” “nothing ever gets done around here…” “I can’t get THEM to commit to the project…” “It’s THEIR fault…” “THEY won’t take responsibility…” “THEY need to improve…” Notice the theme here of excuses here; it’s easy to blame others. Perhaps you’re even guilty of saying or thinking some of those things. Here’s the deal, if you want others in your life & business to be accountable, the best you can do is lead by example. You have to figure out how to make things better even when you don’t have control over the actions of other people. Accountability is a choice. You always have choice in how you act and react to every situation and you should hold yourself accountable to your actions and reactions.
Here are some tips on improving your accountability percentage:
* Stop blaming other people. Instead, ask yourself how your actions or inactions contribute to the situation.
* Figure out what part of the situation you could positively impact.
* Take action. Do things differently in order to change the result.
* Write your SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) goals.
* Develop your own check and balance plan for your accountability.
In the end, you’re the only person who is responsible for your actions and you’re the one that has to live with your results.
It doesn’t matter what your role is; you could be a parent, or child, an entry-level employee or the CEO and you can be a shining example of accountability. Holding yourself accountable takes courage, because it’s taking away the ability to place blame on everyone around you. Stand up and take responsibility today!
I hope has helped you and if it did I hope you will explore our “Personal Accountability and the QBQ!” multimedia training system. It is designed to be facilitated internally to instill a winning culture into any organization. For a detailed PDF overview of this results oriented system just click here.
Jim Strutton, CEO
Accountability Plus, Inc.
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