Accountability: If It Is To Be, It’s Up To Me

Posted on 14. Jan, 2014 by in Change, Character, Leadership, Leadership Development, Life Skills, Personal Development, Trust, Workplace

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 2.34.34 AMWhen things get messed up—and they do—some people respond with lying, denying or minimizing their own responsibility.

Leaders know that to be respected or trusted they must be accountable. They must be willing to be responsible even before they know how things will turn out.

If it is to be, it’s up to me:

Accountability starts with you. It means you are responsible. It’s not so much a way of thinking as a way of being, and it starts from within.

Accountability is about being reliable. Ask yourself “Can people count on me to do what I say I’ll do, as I said I would do it?” You must always keep your word.

Accountability is ownership. It’s the willingness to hold yourself to account, it means taking totally ownership no matter the mess up

Accountability is about creating clarity. When you are accountable you clear up the gaps and voids of expectations and what you are going to be doing.

Accountability is about trustworthiness. When you are responsible and you make a commitment, you hold yourself to a high standard where others know and can trust in you.

Accountability is a partnership. Partnerships are about support and mutual accountability; when you are held accountable by a partner, it’s important to recognize and respect the power of their intention and respond with appreciation rather than anger.

Successful leaders front load accountability into their leadership development.

 

Being accountable begins with accepting responsibility and leading from a place of action.

Choices + Behaviors + Actions = Accountability

I am accountable means you are able to count on me: if it is to be, it’s up to me.

Great leaders who are bound by their word are liberated by their accountability.

 

Lead From Within: You are the leader of your life. Consider the importance of accountability and work to incorporate it in every area you influence.

Lolly Daskal is the president and founder of Lead From Within a coaching and consultant firm that manages large scale corporate coaching and custom made leadership programs. Connect with Lolly Daskal

© 2013 Lolly Daskal. All rights reserved.

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32 Responses to “Accountability: If It Is To Be, It’s Up To Me”

  1. Martina

    14. Jan, 2014

    Excellent post Lolly.

    It is surprising to continue to encounter working adults who do not understand that accountability is intrinsically connected to their integrity. If I cannot count on you in small and insignificant matters, then it is unlikely that I will reach out to for important matters or even promising opportunities.

    If people do not feel they can count on their leader to step up when things go awry, then this is no leader, just a temporary inconvenience at best, and at worst, a roadblock to getting the real work of your organization done.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      16. Jan, 2014

      I want to repeat what you said because I want to shout from the roof tops!

      It is surprising to continue to encounter working adults who do not understand that accountability is intrinsically connected to their integrity. If I cannot count on you in small and insignificant matters, then it is unlikely that I will reach out to for important matters or even promising opportunities.

      so true!

      So relevant.

      As always, much love to you for sharing such wisdom
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  2. Terri Klass

    14. Jan, 2014

    Accountability is about “making a promise and keeping a promise”.

    I love your saying: “If it is to be, it’s up to me”. That sums up the essential part of being accountable- if we don’t step up and take the right actions, things might never get done or change. Leadership is about doing the right thing and modeling ways for others to follow.

    Accountability is also about helping others be more accountable. It is about offering our help so those we connect with so they can be more responsible and meet their commitments.

    Thanks Lolly for sharing great insights on such an important human topic.

    Terri

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      16. Jan, 2014

      Thanks Terri,

      You are right, it is an important topic, and yet it is a topic we have a hard time with.

      Just read the newspapers these days, or turn on the TV.

      Where does accountability start?

      With you….which is me.

      Love you Terri, still looking forward to our meet up.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  3. Jon Mertz

    14. Jan, 2014

    Lolly,

    Accountability empowers trust, especially when leaders own up to their mistakes and successes, learn from them, and improve the way they lead forward. Accountability is an enabler. Rather than hiding from it, everyone needs to embrace accountability more. In the learning, we become better.

    Great points. Thank you!

    Jon

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      16. Jan, 2014

      Thanks Jon always an honor when you stop by. Accountability empowers trust and as you said, learning we become better!

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  4. Simon Harvey

    14. Jan, 2014

    Lolly, wonderful subject and so important to being centered and leading from within. Without accountability we will be lost in a forest of desire, greed, fear and anger.

    Accountability asks the hard questions and offers the sometimes hard answers. We that fail are we that grow as we are freed by our accountability.

    As you say in your book, “it’s easy to let negative thoughts spiral out of control” but when you have accountability at your side it will bring you back to see that there is hope, learning and heart within this place called accountability.

    Accountability is grown from within, it is at the very core of who we are, but it is not always easy to find. Accountability takes courage, it takes faith and belief in that this moment is the one that counts. The here and now is where accountability lives, it is where our heart is strongest and our spirit grows.

    Accountability is at the very foundation of truth, it is what great leadership is grown upon and where humanity can prosper.

    Beautiful and powerful post as usual. See you tonight at on #leadfromwithin chat.
    Your friend, Simon

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      16. Jan, 2014

      words of wisdom from Simon!

      Accountability is grown from within, it is at the very core of who we are, but it is not always easy to find. Accountability takes courage, it takes faith and belief in that this moment is the one that counts. The here and now is where accountability lives, it is where our heart is strongest and our spirit grows. Accountability is at the very foundation of truth, it is what great leadership is grown upon and where humanity can prosper.

      I await each week to see where you will take the concepts I think about. I truly look forward to hear your thoughts and read your heartfelt words.
      Thanks so much for sharing.

      Love to you!
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  5. David

    14. Jan, 2014

    I so agree Lolly! In every situation there is a right thing to do, being accountable means doing things the right way!

    - David @P2PEngagement

    Reply to this comment
  6. Panteli Tritchew

    14. Jan, 2014

    Lolly: It refreshing to read a positive perspective on accountability, a word layered with several millennia of labour relations baggage. From the brick counting overseers of the Pharaohs, to the clock-punching of the Industrial Revolution (literally counting labour minutes) to our current performance review metrics, accountability has come to mean to be measured against an outside scale by a third party in a position of superior power.

    Thank you Lolly for uplifting the concept of accountability from metrics to ownership, from third party review to first party commitment, and from the tick-tock of an outside scale, to the more gentle beats within.

    Many many best wishes! Panteli

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      16. Jan, 2014

      Absolutely beautiful. Absolutely true.

      I must repeat what you wrote because it is beautiful… I LOVE THE WAY YOUR MIND THINKS.

      It refreshing to read a positive perspective on accountability, a word layered with several millennia of labour relations baggage. From the brick counting overseers of the Pharaohs, to the clock-punching of the Industrial Revolution (literally counting labour minutes) to our current performance review metrics, accountability has come to mean to be measured against an outside scale by a third party in a position of superior power.

      JUST wonderful. Always a pleasure to see where you will take my thoughts.

      Thank YOU for sharing.
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  7. Wayne McEvilly

    14. Jan, 2014

    Lolly -
    I can always count on you to proceed from the core of being outward – that is the single aspect of your communications that I find most magnetizing – When I first encounted LeadFromWithin it was as though a refreshing breeze had suddenly been felt in an otherwise stale landscape – the insistence on going within, the gentility of the movement of the heart leading the mind, all these things have a poetic aspect which are aesthetically pleasing, as well as resonant of a deep metaphysical foundation. It is these things that most matter to me, and I thank you for your dedication to what it is you achieve here. The presence of philosophical thinking in the midst of practical issues of everyday management, business, leadership, it is quite simply astonishing what you manage to balance… Having said that, let me just quote from this post: ” It’s not so much a way of thinking as a way of being, and it starts from within.”
    That seems, somehow, to say it all…if not to spell it all out in detail, at the least and most, to go, as you have a way of doing, to the very heart of the matter.
    Many thanks.
    Wayne

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      16. Jan, 2014

      Wayne

      What an honor to have you share your words and wisdom here.

      Your words have melody and poetry. Stunning sentiments.

      Really beautiful. So happy you stopped by.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  8. LaRae Quy

    14. Jan, 2014

    Loved this post! People need to take responsibility for their actions and stop blaming others.

    I get so tired of people complaining and pointing the finger…I loved this sentence: “I am accountable means you are able to count on me: if it is to be, it’s up to me.”

    Great job, my dear!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      16. Jan, 2014

      Thanks LaRae,

      I love the way you express yourself.

      Accountability is being responsible.
      And who is responsible? ME and what are you accountable for? What you said you will do.

      Simple!

      But hard to do..

      Thanks for stopping by- always glad to see you.
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  9. Henry Evans

    14. Jan, 2014

    Love this simplicity of this post. In our book “Winning With Accountability, The Secret Language of High Performing Organizations”, we define accountability as “clear commitments which in the eyes of others, have been kept”.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      16. Jan, 2014

      Walter you have a very smart dad.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      16. Jan, 2014

      Henry,

      Beautiful sentiment: Clear commitments which in the eyes of others, have been kept.

      Accountability is saying what you will do and then doing it. Its simply taking responsibility.

      Thanks for sharing and thanks for stopping by.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  10. Walter

    14. Jan, 2014

    Lolly –

    This is what my dad told me when I was young and irresponsible. I have always remembered it and refer to it frequently.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Sutton Parks

    15. Jan, 2014

    “You are able to count on me”. I like it! My cleaning business has a motto: Reliable and Trustworthy but I also have to be sure I use that motto in my personal life. Excellent points Lolly.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Steve Yeatts

    15. Jan, 2014

    As a leader, reminders like this are important. We cannot expect from the team that which we will not deliver as leaders.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Kim Rowley

    16. Jan, 2014

    I agree with every word you wrote – great post!

    Reply to this comment
  14. Agus Safudi

    16. Jan, 2014

    “Accountability: If It Is To Be, It’s Up To Me”, Ooh what an interesting and provocative article. So, what is accountability stand for? Is this “HAVE TO NICE” or “NICE TO HAVE” ?

    Cheers.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Paty Peterson

    17. Jan, 2014

    I never thought of how accountability defines a person so much. Most of us forget how powerful this word actually is.

    Great post Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
  16. Patsy

    19. Jan, 2014

    Hello! I simply wish to give you a big thumbs up
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    Reply to this comment
  17. Tarik

    21. Jan, 2014

    Lolly, for leaders, accountability takes on extra meaning. True leaders hold themselves accountable not just for their own actions but for those who report to them. The higher your position the more difficult this is. You’ll be responsible for the actions of a wide range of people and you cannot know what they are all doing. My take is that you deal with it not by micro-management but by putting in place the structures and culture that encourage individual responsibility.

    Reply to this comment
  18. Rick Lepsinger

    22. Jan, 2014

    Lolly, although I agree in principle with your perspective on accountability, putting all the responsibility on the individual fails to take into account the role of the leader in managing accountability and creating a culture of accountability.

    As several people observed in their reply, accountability may be intrinsic but many people find it difficult to take responsibility for their actions and the consequences of these actions. The leader plays a critical role in setting people up for success so people are able to meet commitments and keep promises in the first place (i.e., clarify expectations, provide clear and realistic deadlines, and set up periodic check in to monitor progress and make “course corrections” when necessary) and to use three coaching questions when people miss a commitment to enable and encourage them to take accountability. These questions – what can you do right now to get things back on track, what will you do to keep this from happening again, and how did you contribute to the problem – turn the conversation from blaming to problem solving.

    Reply to this comment

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