Accountability

A theme that runs through many self-help books is taking personal accountability for your situation.  The general thought process is that even though something may not be fair, or might be someone else’s job, typically griping about it does no good.  Instead accepting responsibility for the situation, identifying what you can do, and taking action is the most effective response.

This theme is in the classic 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to many business leadership books, and I can see why.  While this may result in more work, it is typically very empowering and helps to encourage a sense of ownership in one’s work.  It also ensures the buck doesn’t get passed around in an organization, so I can see why many businesses would want to encourage this attitude.

There can be some organizational resistance though.  Accountability is usually associated with blame, so some people may shy away from it.  There needs to be a strong leadership that doesn’t punish people for stepping up to accountability, otherwise everyone will look to pass the buck.

There are some considerations with this view.  Obviously you can’t do everything, and if you try to take on too much you’ll be less effective in the tasks you really need to get done.  It’s equally important that you don’t sign up for more than you can accomplish.

While this is typically applied to business,  it could easily be applied to personal relationships.  Don’t seek to blame in conflicts, but looking at your role and what you could have done differently may be the more productive route.

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