“It wasn’t me!”
“It’s not my fault!”
“I can’t believe they did that!”
To me, personal accountability is right up there with character, integrity,and honesty on the value scale. When we make mistakes, and we will, it is our responsibility to own them, fix the issue if possible, move on and learn from each one. As for me, I am doing a lot of learning these days ... if you know what I mean.
What we have to avoid is “the blame game” when it comes to blaming ourselves or others. Whether we try and hide from our errors out of shame or we have developed a coping mechanism over time that allows us to point the finger of blame at others, it’s time to step up and take ownership of everything we do. And by the way, some of you may have heard or seen this before, but when we point the finger of blame at someone else, there are still three fingers pointing directly back in our direction.
HOLDING OURSELVES ACCOUNTABLE
Do others need to be held accountable? Absolutely. We all make mistakes and err from time to time. And in each case the level of conversation or appropriateness of a discussion around the event will be driven or dictated by the depth of the relationship between the people involved. When we have the strength and confidence to hold ourselves accountable for our own actions, it becomes so much easier to talk with others about their accountability and responsibility. Where we get ourselves into trouble is when we act one way and think that it would be okay to absolve ourselves from being held accountable, yet we feel like we can point out the erroneous ways of others.
Accountability sometimes carries a negative connotation, but it doesn’t always have to. People just don’t like being held accountable, it is a strong word for sure and does carry a heavy weight or even burden for some people. Accountability should be a positive word and used to motivate, inspire and encourage ourselves and others. When used negatively, accountability can become a weapon. When it is used positively, it can serve as a tool and launching pad for greatness.
The next time you consider pointing your finger somewhere, point it in the direction of where you want to go instead of pointing it at where you have been or at someone else. When you point your finger towards your destination, you will still have three fingers pointing back at yourself. This will remind you that you are the one responsible and accountable for reaching and exceeding your goals.
So are you playing “the blame game” or are you using accountability as a tool to help drive you toward the achievement of your goals and dreams? I would love to hear all about it at firstname.lastname@example.org. And when we leverage accountability as a tool and not a weapon, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker, and CEO of www.candogo.com. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.