We all screw up things at one point in time. We are all human, and thus we make errors. It is how we deal with a screw up that demonstrates a lot about who we are on the inside. When I screw up, I try to be the first one to admit it. Out loud if possible, but my goal is to be accountable for my own actions.
People respect people who are accountable and won’t blame others when things go wrong. Even our President Obama is having to learn that you can’t continue to blame others when things go wrong and not take any of the blame yourself. And if you are the kind of person that always takes credit for things going well, but rarely if ever when things are going south, you are just not an honest person.
I use the word honest because unlike any other choice of word that comes to mind, honesty to yourself and others is what we are talking about when it comes to being accountable. The whole notion that President Obama is now being held responsible by the media that has protected him for over 6 years may be true, but real accountability is incumbent on each of us to practice. If others are necessary to hold us accountable, then we are failing ourselves.
In leadership development we train people to hold staff and team members accountable for performance. While it is a competency all managers should possess, true accountability lies with the individual responsible party.
Yet I have always tried to live in reality, while at the same time helping people grow into something better than they already are today. This means that I realize that most people deflect blame on others whenever possible. I just happen to be one of those annoying people who don’t let them get away with it. You cannot fix problems if you are not focused on the problem and who is causing it.