Whatever Happened to Accountability?

by Laura Kronen on March 27, 2013

accountability definition

Accountability is normally viewed as being responsible—giving an explanation of your actions, and accepting the consequences—to somebody for something.

Take my tennis leagues for example.  The situation I am about to describe has happened more times than I can count.  As per the rules of any league, if any opponent cancels within 24 hours of a scheduled match you are allowed to take the default against that opponent. So, why do many opponents make you feel that you are doing something wrong after THEY cancel on you, merely one hour before, because you cannot rearrange your schedule to waste another day entertaining the probability that that person won’t cancel on you again?  I schedule my work, family obligations, exercise and personal appointments around my matches.  When someone cancels on me, it impacts me in so many ways.  Yet, I have not met one single opponent (and I have had hundreds) who has cancelled on me and said, “Sorry I screwed up your day, please take the win by default”.   It’s rare to find someone who apologizes, much less doesn’t expect you to reschedule without blinking an eye.  It’s a complete lack of respect for another person’s time.

In life, just like in tennis, when a person admits to wrong doing or displaying inadequacies, they have a sense of defeat. Those that have trouble with admitting their short comings, and we all have them, battle with insecurity. We all like to feel important and have others have a high opinion of us. Some, more than others, develop an over-inflated view of themselves. These tendencies act to wrap us in denial which creates a false perception of self and the inability to accept the truth about us. It then becomes painful to accept that mistakes are possible and when they do occur the first reaction is to point the finger at someone else. We refuse to think objectively and accept any involvement for our actions.

How could I be a good Life Coach if I didn’t hold people responsible for their actions?  So, I do.  The cycle has to be broken somewhere, otherwise those people will continually take advantage of others. Consider it free coaching if you will.  Holding yourself accountable is nothing more than following through with YOUR commitments and responsibilities. It’s doing what YOU know YOU should do, when YOU should do it.  I will take the win by default.  And unless someone has a damn good excuse, metaphorically speaking, so should you.

So, what are the 3 main reasons that people do not take responsibiliity for their actions?

  1. Insecurity  – Feelings of low self esteem.
  2. Arrogance – Someone seeing themselves as flawless and incapable of making mistakes.
  3. Prejudices – Feeling victim of racial discrimination, intolerance, or narrow-mindedness.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? If so, this doesn’t make you a bad person. But, now  that you are aware, the next step is to make a change in your life.

So how do you stop blaming others and start being held accountable for your actions?  Here are the Top 10 things you can do:
  1. Realize that blaming others for your choices is unfair.
  2. Know that admitting to your errors will earn respect.
  3. Stop pretending to be someone you are not.
  4. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
  5. Build self-confidence.
  6. Stop being defensive.
  7. Do away with self-centeredness by showing compassion and empathy to others.
  8. Learn how to release fear.
  9. Be objective in your views without bias or prejudices.
  10. Stop playing the victim.

All of the above examples are choices that you can make.  You can work with a Life Coach if the changes that need to be made seem harder than just changing your mind. When you take 100 percent responsibility for holding yourself accountable, your self esteem will grow, your performance will improve, relationships will flourish, and respect for you will soar. Now go on out and take the blame once in a while, you will be glad you did!




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