In a recent orientation meeting, we were informed that 2017-18 academic year is the Year of ACCOUNTABILITY. This was followed by brilliant ideas on what constitute accountability: the obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner. It also includes the responsibility for money or other entrusted property.
I was particularly immersed in the philosophy behind HIGH PERFORMANCE which is now on my office and classroom walls:
HIGH PERFORMANCE ACCOUNTABILITY
I AM responsible, self-empowered, and accountable for understanding the role, the task, the final deliverable and the due dates.
It is up to ME to be clear and successful in my role. If obstacles or conflicting priorities arise, it is still up to ME to gain focus and create greater effectiveness.
NO FAULT, NO BLAME, NO GUILT
I believe accountability starts by being credible. You have credibility when you seem totally trustworthy or believable. You lose it when you start lying, cheating and acting rather shady, facets which will damage your accountability nous.
Have you ever had times when you just want someone to quickly tell you the things you should be doing, along with those you should be avoiding?
Sorry dear folks, I am that person today.
This simple, easy-to-follow guide to credibility will provide you with just that.
- Come across positively to others. It’s worth taking the time to self-reflect – would you consider yourself to be credible if I have to work with you?
- Present yourself well. That means dressing appropriately, being positive and polite when you deal with people, and using language that doesn’t offend anyone. It also applies to your written work – bad spelling, grammar and punctuation send out the wrong signals.
- Lead by example. Make sure others know they can rely on you. Be responsible for your own actions and accept accountability if things don’t go according to plan.
- Be a decision-maker. If you’re in charge of something, think things through properly, evaluate your criteria and make objective choices.
- Exercise objectivity. No one will thank you for a decision you’ve made just because you’ve felt like it. Do what’s right for the activity you’re working on and the people you’re working with.
- Take stock. Don’t rush into absolutely everything. Often we work to tight deadlines, but make sure you step back and look at the overall picture on occasion. Use this time to reflect on your objectives and make sure you’re on target.
- Work with others. Other people’s talents and skills can make for an extremely positive working experience. Delegate wisely and give people their own opportunities to develop. A professional person doesn’t feel they need to do everything themselves. They appreciate the benefits others bring and recognise they’re not always the best person for the job.
- People need to know what is going on – be it the colleagues you’re working with, the staff you manage, or your own bosses who want to know progress is being made. Pick up the phone and talk to them, arrange meetings, send emails – communicate and keep them informed.
- Plan and organise. Work out what you need to do, and how you’re going to do it. Manage your resources properly and think about contingency plans.
- Attend to the little details. Sometimes it’s the things we overlook rather than deal with that cause problems. Don’t be caught out by missing something obvious.
- Be afraid to fail. Sometimes, even with the best intentions, things can go wrong. Don’t be scared off by failure – it will only inhibit you. Instead, see your mistakes as a chance to evaluate and develop.
- Oversell and under-deliver. You won’t win friends by saying you’re going to do something and failing to deliver. Credible people don’t let others down.
- Avoid challenges. Stretching tasks are opportunities to demonstrate your potential. See them as your chance to shine.
- Pass accountability onto others. If you’re the decision-maker, accept accountability. Even if a decision turns out to be the wrong one, take the feedback that comes from it.
- Give others a reason not to trust you. Always behave in a way that lets others know they can depend on you: exercise confidentiality, shoulder responsibility and follow through on your promises.
One Final Do …
- Enjoy being credible and accountable. If you’re able to master all of the above then you’ve earned the right to enjoy the personal satisfaction and rewards that come from being conscientious, committed and capable.
When you consider the kind of person you like to work with, the chances are they’ll be reliable, responsible and happy to be held accountable for their own decisions. These characteristics work towards building your credibility and demonstrating them can bring a variety of positive benefits.
The Credibility Cycle
It is a revolving three cycle word: RELIABILITY; ACCOUNTABILITY and RESPONSIBILITY. These words are always linking into each other.
This is because:
A Reliable Person …
… is someone others know they can trust. They are dependable and will work hard to get a task done on time. They are, therefore, more likely to be given tasks that carry responsibility.
A Responsible Person …
… knows who is relying on them and what their responsibilities are. They understand that not following through on these can have a negative impact on themselves and others. Their work will often involve a high degree of personal accountability.
An Accountable Person …
… does not pass the blame for things they are responsible for. They accept they’re accountable for the end result, will work to achieve this and will accept the responsibility for things that go wrong. Because of this, others know they can rely on them … which brings us a full circle!
Taking the above into consideration, if you manage to act responsibly and are reliable, there is less chance of things going wrong. This should mean the standard of your work will be high, creating fewer problems for which you will be held accountable. This helps create an overall picture of credibility in the eyes of your colleagues and managers.
When you’re credible you have an air of confidence which expresses itself through the way you move, behave, carry yourself and speak. Credibility and accountability are earned through education, struggle and the development of empathy. It is the sustaining aspect of your character that makes you a great leader – one who is credible and accountable at all times.
Those who fail to take heed will falter and fall on the wayside.
As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL.