What does it mean “I am holding myself accountable”? It means that I take ownership of the situations, projects, feelings, actions, choices that I am involved in. It means me, as a person, taking responsibility for everything happens, good or bad, strong or weak, success or failure.
If someone is successful or not in business or in life depends on two factors: on outside conditions, and on his/her choices, attitude, actions.
The factor which is the most important for us depends on our beliefs and mindset. But hopefully accountability is not something that we are born with; it’s a way of living that we can learn.
A powerful definition of accountability found in The Oz Principle:
“A personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate ownership necessary for achieving desired results – to See it, Own It, Solve It and Do It.”
It is easier to be the “victim” in any case nowadays. Victimization has affected our world so much. Especially in a work environment it is easier to make excuses than to accept responsibility. Remember from your experience all the excuses you have heard about arriving late at work, not meeting a deadline, forgetting something very important (like an appointment), not backing up files and emails?
Do these phrases ring a bell?
- I didn’t have the time to check it.
- I was too tired.
- I didn’t know that the deadline was today.
- As I was coming to work, I was bitten by a huge dog and I have been in hospital till now.
- It was not my fault, he suggested it.
- No one told me that I was supposed to do it.
Yes, perhaps such excuses make us laugh some time however, it is almost 99% certain that we’ve all told something like this at least once in our life. It is more convenient to accuse someone else or something else because you hadn’t done what you were supposed to do either in your job or personal life.
As it is mentioned in the amazing book, The Oz Principle, there is an imaginary line between victimization and accountability and it is very thin. Even the most successful people and organizations can fall to the virus of victimization.
There are actions we all do belowand above this imaginary line.
When we operate Below the Line usually we don’t listen when others tell us directly or indirectly, we blame others and point fingers. Our focus on a problem is not what we can do but more what we can’t do. We avoid people, situations and meetings that require our responsibilities, we view the world pessimistically, we repeatedly tell the same story about how someone else took advantage of us, our efforts, our knowledge etc.
Simply put, our “victimization” strategy includes the following stages: ignore or deny, it is not our job scenario, finger point to someone else, tell me what to do attitude, covering our tail and finally wait to see what will happen so we can start all over again.
The other side is Personal Accountability, where we operate Above the Line. This means that we see what is the problem, the situation, what needs our focus, we own it by answering questions such as what facts exist that we chose not to acknowledge? If we were facing the situation again, what would we do differently? Can we see how our behavior and actions prevented us from getting the results we wanted? We solve it by asking what else can I do, what else can I do to rise above any circumstances and achieve the results I want for myself, my career, my employer etc? And finally the Do It stage, where we work continuously with all our power and skills to achieve the results we want.
I won’t tell you that it is easy. Staying above the line requires strength, diligence, courage, passion, willingness to accept the risk, and looking to yourself first.
The competition, the new form of economy, the contemporary workplace have convinced me that if we want to stand out from the crowd and advance ourselves personally and professionally, we must hold ourselves accountable for doing things and acting.
Personal accountability in the Management Assistant’s profession is measured by accepting personal responsibility for the consequences of personal actions in our daily routine, avoiding placing unnecessary blame on others including our boss or the organization in total, maintaining personal commitment to objectives regardless of the success or failure, applying personal lessons from past failures to moving forward in achieving future success.
In our work environment, accountability helps us to build trust within teams or with our boss. It is easier to work when everyone knows they can depend on each other.
When, in our position, take responsibility for actions, speak up and look for solutions when there is a problem, we not only prevent the problem becoming worse but we can save money or prevent project or task delays.
If we show our boss or senior colleagues that they can depend on us, we mark ourselves as someone with leadership skills and that can boost opportunities for promotion or secure our position in the company.
The next simple steps could give us an advantage and get our career ahead:
- Know our role, meaning our responsibilities, our everyday tasks, at what level we have decision responsibilities.
- Be simple in our words and honest, ask for help if we needed it before it is too late.
- Use time wisely, do not overcommit, make changes, look for alternatives.
- Say sorry, if it is necessary, but at the same time show the action we are going to take to solve the problem.
And last but not least: Always remember to hold your Boss accountable!
In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.Eleanor Roosevelt