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Why an Attitude of Accountability should also be accompanied with Accountability of Attitude

Some people say we are perhaps the most sensitive generation that ever lived on earth. Our individualistic tendencies make us more vulnerable than any other people who lived before us.

The truth is, we are all living in a world rife with triggers. 2021 is a year when information is travelling at breakneck speeds and our minds are swimming in distractions almost every minute. Being uncontrollably busy is now considered a virtue and we’ve learnt to embrace stress and disregard our mental health.

Whether it’s at office or at work, there is hardly a time when we are fully present at one place in our mind. While emotional intelligence is touted as the panacea for personal and professional success, it is a concept that eludes many and is practiced by few. Given the commercial mindset that an urban lifestyle demands, many of us are living life by merely scratching the surface of the potential depth of our emotional landscape.

The past year has made some of us edgier. We’re even more restless. In fact many believe that the pandemic is a result of being aggressively ambitious and notoriously greedy. But the irony of that is that we’re also in blissful denial of the repercussions of our temperament and attitude.

While the big positive flip side of the information age is that we have made medical, technological and scientific advances that were once inconceivable, we’ve also become obsessed by ourselves. The comfort of selfishness has meant that we’ve learnt to live with one sole objective at the cost of everything else – serving our own purpose over others.

Albert Einstein once said, “Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility.” There isn’t a better time than 2021 to become more deliberately responsible not just for our actions, but also for our attitude.

Not being responsible for our own attitude can be a cushy place to be in. It means lesser time spent in the unknown and is akin to making someone else pick up our mess. It means that we can externalize the blame to our families, colleagues and friends without having to look within ourselves for answers. It also means that we wait for something or someone to enable us without picking up our own slack.

We’re always waiting for ‘success’ , looking for shortcuts to a ‘win’, hoping for a ‘miracle’ or wishing for a benefactor to make things happen for us. But we’re just too scared or lazy to go the distance or be our own saviour.  How many times do we wish our leader does more to engage or prepare us? Or blamed our workplace for having a bad culture? Watercooler conversations are often about somebody’s misfortune or someone’s misgivings about a particular organizational initiative.

While it may be tempting to feel that we are powerless in the face of an external incident, what matters is not what actually happens but how we react to it.  Ultimately, our attitude is the most substantial factor shaping our personal and professional fate.

Often the loudest voice in the room or even our head is that of the easiest or the most popular opinion. Casually passed judgements, snide remarks masquerading as office humour, loosely put together ideas are just some of the things that take precedence over that voice in our head. It’s incredibly convenient to give in and be lost in the crowd than to explore the deeper implications of any popular opinion or idea and express something in contrast to it.

Without even realizing it, we play a bigger part in shaping the culture and success of our workplace or the engagement of our colleagues than we can deem possible.

Being personally accountable means making an active choice to rise above our circumstances and demonstrate the ownership required to achieve the desired results. Someone rightly said, ‘You can’t be given accountability but you have to take accountability’

Whether it is being accountable for our attitudes or for the results we deliver at work, reliability is an extremely desirable attribute both personally and professionally. If each one of us can be fully accountable for our own tasks, we can play a pivotal role in creating something phenomenal. Indeed, people who are accountable are more successful at making themselves indispensable at the workplace than their colleagues. A leader who can be counted for his word ends up fostering a culture of high performance and growth.

Being aware and owning our behaviour and attitude about work can help us feel more positive and resilient at work.

Whether you are a leader or an individual contributor, remember that the following things are more impactful than you think:

  1. Your attitude in face of adversity
  2. Your resilience in tough times
  3. Your ability to speak your mind
  4. Your willingness to accept your mistakes
  5. Your resistance to unfair and unjust outcomes
  6. The reliability of your word

Realizing that you are personally responsible for your situation and the willingness to answer for the consequences of your choices, actions and attitude is a valuable trait that has many long term positive implications.

Leaders can work on increasing ownership in their team simply by refining their communication. Sharing the larger vision of the organization, explaining the rationale behind any choice, giving them the flexibility to figure out the ‘how’ will make the team feel like an integral part of the mission and dedicate fully to the cause discretionarily. A big part of showing trust in the team is by holding them accountable and recognizing them for their effort.

For individuals, use these simple yet extremely effective ways to increase their personal accountability in 2021:

  1. Be realistic about how much you can achieve.
  2. Keep your pride aside.
  3. Be well managed with time
  4. Understand your role and its impact on the larger picture.
  5.  Monitor your speech and self-correct
  6. Expect transparency and accountability from your colleagues and settle for nothing less.

Success is inclusive not when people simply follow instructions but when each person in the company is accountable for their attitudes, actions and results. Only accountability can breed agility. It is also a sure way towards efficiency. If each one of us can become accountable for our attitudes and own our actions, we will be able to create a place of courage, acceptance and honesty.

Have you read?

1. Integrating the Gig Workforce: What they Want & What You Should Do
2. 5 Ways to Prepare the Workforce for the Future of Selling