Accountability Starts with YOU

Has someone ever let you down and your first thought is “why did they do that”? I’m guilty of this default statement too. I need to actively step back and ask, “what was my role in this situation?” That’s personal accountability. Before we can hold others accountable, recognize that accountability starts with you.  

People have all sorts of ideas about accountability, and it typically starts with someone else doing or not doing something. The definition of accountability is “An obligation or willingness to take responsibility or to account for one’s actions.” That’s it. Accountability isn’t an action; it is the willingness to own our actions. If I say I’m going to do something, I do it.  

Let’s start with personal accountability. When we demonstrate personal accountability, we role model the behaviors for the rest of our team.  

  • Do what you say you are going to do.  
  • Be consistent in how you do things.  
  • Apologize if you make a mistake
  • Get help when you need it.
  • If you aren’t clear on what the expectation is, ask.

Let’s move to leadership accountability. Knowing that accountability is the willingness to take responsibility for actions means that when a team member tells you they have made a mistake, they are taking the first step in their personal accountability. Thank them for their accountability.  

The next step is to examine what caused the mistake. And remember, accountability starts with you so think back to a leader’s mind.

  • Get curious. What could you have done better to set expectations, be clearer in the instructions or deadlines? Don’t just ask yourself, ask the person their opinion. Asking what you could have done better gives them the opportunity to help you become a better leader.  
  • Be grateful. This is a chance for both of you to improve.  
  • Be humble. You aren’t perfect and neither is the person you are working with.  
  • Be willing. Be willing to take their feedback on what you could do better and do it.

I hope these tips are helpful.  Remember to sign up for the March 9th webinar:  The Accountability Framework

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About Amy Lafko

As a Physical Therapist, Amy spent years in school learning best practices for patient care and how to put the patient first. Like so many technically skilled clinicians, she advanced to a leadership role. Spending 20+ years in operational leadership, she had an epiphany: Putting the customer first isn’t the path to success or fulfillment. Rather, the most successful organizations and practices put their people first – and exceptional customer care, profitability, and effectiveness naturally followed.