Accountable is a positive word right? People like to hold someone accountable when the person takes on a responsibility or error. But so few like to be held accountable. Something simple like that can make a large difference.
If I own up the blame and don’t deflect it, what am I compromising? The fear is of loss. We don’t like being held accountable because in the event of mistakes, we fear the worst, not the reasonable. I’ve done a lot of jobs. I’ve seen a lot of pointing fingers and a lot of people never say “that’s my fault”. Even I avoided it when I felt intimidated.
But in the workplace we fear demotion, loss of respect, and even termination. Scary things, and there’s more than that too. But people hear me more often than not approach them with two things in mind. Honesty and integrity. I’m in sales now and my trainer more or less wants me to hide things. Some call it lie by omission. For me if it’s relevant, I will bring it into play. No job will compromise my integrity. If you tell me to have integrity and honesty as part of our cultural values, you better be ready when I call you out for not doing it.
In the job area, when I have made a mistake and fessed up or even volunteered info before it was discovered, I’ve never been rewarded, but honestly the largest reprimand I’ve ever had is being told to fix it, and chances are I already have or have a plan to. But then I work for a company (previously) where I wear a name badge and on the back is our culture statement, our values. And when we screwed over our customers (and boy how we did) I became a customer advocate over whatever they actually wanted me to be. And I would challenge them. I would tell them how our integrity shouldn’t be compromised or at least not touted as a value when no one values it. That’s when I got face to face chats about how we do screw people over, but that’s “above their head” and to be fair a lot of it was. But they were still taught and programmed to try to divert me from calling them out on not following company values, so I should hold them accountable. But just face to face chats, no email or instant messenger trail, that might be dangerous.
Maybe that’s why we won’t be accountable. It’s a thing people say they value, but then don’t embody themselves. We all like to hold others accountable, but not be held ourselves. I know I frequently get complimented by those observing my accountability. Whether it’s the customers I help or the observers of such. But no one above you ever thanks you, they just tell you to be. I’m frustrated and philosophical tonight. I want to be the change I want in the world. But I also know that our cultural values as a whole are headed in the opposite direction.