Friday, July 9, 2010

Be Strong Enough to Accept Accountability

It's one thing to take responsibility, which means accepting the role to take action and following through. But when bad things happen, as they eventually do, if you had something to do with it, it’s natural to want to shift the blame to someone else.

The problem is, deep down you know you were responsible for what happened. Trying to deny your role only leads to diminished self-respect and self-esteem. And people eventually will find out, if they don’t already know, so you risk losing their respect, too.

The smart thing is to recognize and own up to the part you played in the way things turned out. The faster you admit that something is your fault, the quicker others will recognize your strength, get over it and move on.

It’s worth doing the right thing, even though it may seem hard at first. Because when you apologize and make amends, three good things happen. First, you’ll respect yourself more. Also, people will give you respect when they see you’re strong enough to own up to your mistakes. Finally, accepting accountability helps you to move forward much more quickly. Instead of finger-pointing, you can get people involved in solutions.

You face the decision about whether or not to be accountable every day, because that’s how life is. So remember that you already have within you everything you need to take responsibility for your actions.

What some wise people have had to say about accepting accountability...
  • “A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.” - Jonathan Swift, British essayist (1667-1745)
  • “In a marriage, an organization, or a culture, only to the extent that people are willing to hold themselves accountable can we have relationships, enterprises, or a world that works.” - Nathaniel Branden, American psychologist (1930- )
  • “We are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime.” - Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, American author (1926-2004)
  • “Almost all our faults are more pardonable than the methods we resort to to hide them.” - François Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French author (1613-1680)
  • “You can do anything in this world if you are prepared to take the consequences.” - W. Somerset Maugham, British novelist (1874-1965)
  • “It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.” - Jean Baptiste Molière, French playwright (1622-1673)
  • “The sower may mistake and sow his peas crookedly: the peas make no mistake, but come up and show his line.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson, American philosopher (1803-1882)
  • “I am responsible for me and must oversee with great sensitivity the impact of what I say or do on others.” - Barbara Jordan, American politician (1936-1996)
  • “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” - Benjamin Franklin, American scientist (1706-1790)
  • “A strong leader accepts blame and gives the credit.” - John Wooden, American college basketball coach (1910-2010)

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength .


Lori said...

I have just found your blog (via a Tweet by Naomi Karten of an earlier post). And I L-O-V-E it! I can't get the RSS feed menu to work - or I'd subscribe. But I'll be sending my own readers this way. Insightful. Pragmatic. Actionable. Great post. Great blog.

Kabolobari said...

Insightful, as usual!