The Relationship between accountability and responsibility is an interesting one that has perplexed me for years. Organizations and leaders are looking for accountability for performance. I have always believed that accountability is assigned and responsibility is taken. In order to be truly accountable, you must take personal responsibility. What do you think?
I have been reading an incredible book by Ira Challef, he nails this context for accountability and responsibility in his book The Courageous Follower: Standing Up to and for Our Leaders:
“By assuming responsibility for our organization and its activities, we can develop a true partnership with our leader and sense of community with our group. This is how we maximize our own contribution to the common purpose. Assuming responsibility requires courage because we then become responsible for the outcomes – we can’t lay the blame for our action or inaction elsewhere. But before we can assume responsibility for the organization, we must assume responsibility for ourselves”
Assuming responsibility for ourselves? Yes, individuals, teams, leaders, managers and organizations! It all begins with each of us being accountable and responsible for our behaviors, actions, and decisions. The people I know who do more of this than less are my kind of people! I want to be led by them, I trust them! It does take courage to be authentic, have high integrity and tell the truth! When organizations place an emphasis on self development as means to high performance the dividends are always there. In fact, organizations that have a priority for creating a culture of self responsibility and accountability return more than 17% value to shareholders than those who do not.
Our work with leaders is based on this premise of self responsibility and accountability. Our L3 Leadership Process begins with L1 Total Life Leadership, which enables self discovery, reflection, assessment and personal planning to leverage self responsibility and personal accountability as means to high level performance at work and in life.
We have seen so many good things happen when leaders create a culture of accountability and responsibility. Remember accountability is assigned, responsibility is a choice! When you have a culture that understands this– very good things can happen.