The lens through which we view the world colors our experience of it. Some people view accountability as a negative…it’s something your boss does to you. You’re held accountable. Like you’re held captive. Ugh. Who wants that?
Accountability is really access to personal power. It’s your key to owning the results you create in the world. It’s really the doorway to freedom.
Consider a time when you’ve felt trapped, stuck or victimized. If you got yourself out of that dreary headspace, chances are you exercised some aspect of accountability. You owned how you got there. You accepted responsibility for the fact that nobody but you believed what you believed, said what you said, took the actions you took (or didn’t take) that resulted in your current reality, circumstance, situation, etc. Yay for you! Now, the trick is, how do we do that as a daily mode of operating?
One of the articles at the Library of Professional Coaching, by Inga Estes, defines it well:
Accountability is the greatest freedom we can create for ourselves. When we turn the tables and “own” the thing that owns us, we eliminate “victim mentality.” Accountability allows us to take full responsibility for our own lives, acknowledging what we’ve chosen and standing by it.
A Shearson/Lehman Brothers print ad from 1987 sums up accountability:
• Accountability is taking responsibility before the fact, rather than after the fact.
• Accountability is taking a stand, and standing by it.
• When those who are accountable are right, they take the credit.
• When they are wrong, they take the heat, a fair exchange.
• Accountability is a way of working.
• Those who practice it have an unspoken respect for each other and a visible disdain for the absent-minded apologizers, mumbling excuse-makers and, trembling fence sitters who run from integrity as if it were the plague.
“Those who enjoy accountability usually get it; those who merely like exercising authority usually lose it.” ~ Malcolm Forbes