Accountability comes from our leadership. They create the container in which we are empowered to hold ourselves and others accountable. When our leaders embody accountability it shows up in formal and informal ways. A formal manner in which accountability might show up is in creating structure of expectations. A due date for a project is given and it is expected that due date is honored. When the date is not honored there are expectations for repercussions that will occur. A “if this, then that,” scenario takes hold and is ingrained in the culture. Informal ways in which we look to our leaders to hold us accountable are simply looking to see if patterns of behaviors match our words. These patterns seem to be given the least amount of attention yet influence the organization in some of the most meaningful ways.
Blaming others and poor accountability are both results of unclear roles, responsibilities and expectations within the organization. Blaming is a manner in which employees are not held accountable because they “did not know.” Most organizations or teams that encounter this did not take the time to build a solid foundation of expectations that are clearly communicated.
The best and most empowering way to impact your career is to take responsibility for everything within your realm of influence. This does not mean you do everything, but it does mean you are in the seat of influence once you do take responsibility. It means you are now able to create a new approach in which you see the world, your life, your organization, your team, and your role. From this place you can begin to perceive things in a new way and from this new perception you allow yourself to see new solutions, possibilities and opportunities. Taking responsibility is the first step on the path to making a difference and to being a leader that people can trust, respect, and most importantly follow. When you take responsibility you are a person who is accountable. Bottom line: People follow people who can lead and make a difference.