Terrifying Accountability

Do you take accountability, or do you lay blame?

Being accountable for something doesn’t have to be terrifying. Something goes wrong, the response is one of two options;

  1. How do I take a proactive response to this, figure out what happened and why and find a solution that moves the situation forwards
  2. How do I make myself invisible so someone else can take the wrap?

The response is, unfortunately, the latter in most situations (especially when you have an assistant to blame!) but why do we do this?

Accountable does not mean “blame-able.” Accountability and blame differ entirely, with blame usually meaning someone deserves a disciplinary approach, with a solid outcome for the error. Que anxiety, stress, upset and tension, resulting in a complete lack of trust and often, permanent damage to a relationship, professional or personal.

Working to understand what happened helps us avoid making the same error in the future. With blame, we’ve found the person who’s fault it was, dealt with it and the situation is over. No learning, no progression.

By appointing blame, you provide an environment for negative emotions to breed. Past experiences of blame culture are regurgitated and everyone feels tense, pressure, anxiety and they’re afraid to bring their full selves to a situation, organisation or relationship. Fear ensues and everyone is too nervous to get it wrong so they avoid it. It’s a vicious circle.

Take a step back, consider how your response to a situation might affect someone else and the impact it could have on future occasions, and adjust your response accordingly.

You can always go ahead and say ‘It wasn’t my fault, so and so didn’t do their job’, absolve yourself of responsibility, but be aware that it may come back and bite you on the backside when you need something from so-and-so in the future.

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