Accountability in the workplace, and on a personal level, can dramatically impact the productivity of the workforce in every organization. Accountability is not goal achievement. Accountability is essentially a core value for each person; and, should be a fundamental pillar of a company’s culture. Being responsible is actually how an individual chooses to take action as the owner of a company goal. Their response can distribute responsibility to others in the company, then all, personally contribute to a shared success.
In organizations, why does accountability seem to vacillate or falter entirely? These are some of the reasons:
• Accountability is assumed to be a ‘suit’ you wear at the office. It is not appreciated as an authentic principle to be embodied at all times. Accountability is not respected as part of the company’s identity, consequently, is demonstrated when it is convenient.
• Informal leaders within a group defer to those with company status or power. You will hear comments such as, “I’m not the boss. It’s not my decision.”, or, “I can’t make that level of decision.” True leaders are those that can build the capacity for action, motivate others to commit; and, be accountable for the sum of their actions.
• When employees are in resignation, they feel they have no choice over final outcomes. You will hear comments such as, ‘It doesn’t matter how we feel about our working environment, just that we meet the 90 day goals’, or ‘It’s more important we make our boss look good, not that we all worked the entire weekend to make it happen.” Here, accountability is only meaningful when a favored company player is recognized for the project, regardless of whether it is justified or not.
On the personal level, accountability can be from these justifications:
• When people have only intentions, not sincere commitments for results, accountability is abandoned. Whether they are accountable for an internal commitment, or one to friends and family, they have not researched all the requirements or time duration for achievement. This usually results in thinking there is not sufficient value for the effort required. And, without a timeline assigned to the commitment, all you have is an idea for something new.
• Personal procrastination is a major element. As is often seen, people will repeatedly delay action until a crisis is upon them and choices are limited. This is followed by ‘victim mentality’, propelling the individual into a self pity state, not an action state.
• Along in a person’s progress, old history or personal assessments eventually overwhelm them. You will hear expressions such as, “I should have realized I’m too old to learn the piano”, or “I’ve been uncoordinated all my life. No wonder I can’t learn to dance.” When outdated judgments like these come up, then the future cannot be created with self accountability.

Why Aren’t We More Accountable?

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