In recent years, people have attempted to take responsibility for their personal development—character, career, attitude—with performance tools and peer feedback systems. Some have been successful and made significant changes.
Others, not so much. They’ve shrugged off peer perceptions as unwarranted and persisted in old habits. Accountability can be tough or rewarding, depending on your purpose or ego strength.
You may want to consider adopting the following Articles of Accountability at your workplace.
Expect As Much from Yourself As You Do from Those Above You
People in positions of authority are human beings struggling with the same weaknesses, worries, and warts that we all have. Why hold them to some super-standard that you yourself do not model and criticize them for infractions that you would not want to be criticized for? They fail just like everyone else.
Continually complaining about what the “powers that be” or politicians or the government should do is pointless.
Commit to the Success of Your Organization
Why should your organization have to earn your loyalty? Did your parents have to earn your love? Did your school have to earn your respect? Does your favorite charity have to win your favor every year for a donation? Does your country have to earn your devotion? You commit to some organizations, causes, and purposes just because you believe in them.
Motivate and Mentor Yourself
Being accountable means accepting responsibility for your own morale, motivation, and mobility. Identify what you don’t know. Find out who can teach it to you. Ask others to let you observe and learn from them. Plan your educational road map, and be willing to pick up the tab. After all, you’ll be reaping the benefits for the rest of your life.
Become Financially Savvy
Understand how a business works and how your own organization makes money. What are its expenses, and what generates its profits? How do you and your job alter the picture? Move around the organization and learn the same thing about every department in the organization.
Focus on Your Own Deliverables and Forget About Others’ To-Do Lists
Build your own integrity by delivering on your promises. Do what you say you will. Then stop grousing about others who don’t meet deadlines or pull their own weight. They must live with the consequences of their lost clarity, diminished credibility, and damaged relationships.
Accept the Fact That Some Predicaments Don’t Have Pathways Out
Instead of striving for perfection, settle for progress. Progress happens on our watch—if only because it transforms and teaches us how to cope in an imperfect situation. Things are not going to become perfect this side of heaven.
Vow to Do Your Best With What You Have
Anyone can succeed with the right people, ample resources, appropriate support, and adequate time. Remove one of the legs from the stool, and you have a challenge worthy of your best talents. Measure your results and willingness to be accountable by how well you accept and meet the challenge before you.
Live With Uncertainty
Stop expecting your leaders—organizational leaders, national leaders, world leaders—to read a crystal ball. Plan for tomorrow, but work within the boundaries of today.
Be fully accountable for what happens on your watch and assume responsibility for results. Playing the blame game is not a worthy pursuit. Prefer to take on the challenge of unpredictable situations under less-than-desirable circumstances and work to deliver dynamic results.
As someone has observed, “No individual raindrop ever considers itself responsible for the flood.”