We have a saying around my office: Lead with accountability…or become irrelevant! Yet it’s hard to know how far you can go as a leader until you first understand where you are. Personal accountability is a powerful marker for realizing your potential, better connecting with those around you, and finding a crystal-clear focus for whom you want to be in this life. But how many leaders are personally accountable in all the areas that matter?
To answer that, we have to look at a bigger question: What is accountability? This is a question that a lot of leaders I work with struggle to answer. I believe a big part of the reason we struggle with this in our organizations, in our communities, and in the world, is that we simply do not understand what accountability is, and we are reluctant to admit that. For instance: We misuse the word “accountability.” We treat it as though it were interchangeable with the word “responsibility”—and it is not.
Accountability and responsibility are two very different things. Accountability is keeping your commitments to people. Responsibility is taking on a certain task. The difference is subtle and instructive, and it connects to the vitally important concept of commitment. There are tactical commitments, for which people take on responsibility, and which build productivity (that is what leaders want). And there are also relational commitments, which support relationships and build accountability (that is what leaders need).
Each of us, in short, is responsible for things; we are accountable to people.
The relational commitments are what we as leaders most urgently need to focus on. Tactical commitments (like agreeing to get a report done on time) are spoken; they do not exist until we talk about them or find some other way to communicate about them. By contrast, relational commitments (like our commitment to truth, or our commitment to stand by people when all hell breaks loose) do not necessarily have to be spoken. Whether we say them out loud or not, people need to be able to count on those commitments.
The Personal Accountability Assessment™ is free, and it gives you a snapshot of where you as an individual are, right now, in terms of the ten relational commitments that make or break relationships and organizations. You can complete it in just 60 seconds – and what it can tell you about how accountable you really are is invaluable.
Take the Assessment right now by visiting amiaccountable.com – and see how your relational accountability factors stack up!