Are you accountable?

B. Keith Chapman, President & CEO


Accountability can be a scary word. In fact, it is natural for most of us to struggle with being accountable for all we do and say. You may not have a problem with being responsible for an assignment or a team; however, being accountable for the outcome of the project or success of the team is something different. As humans, there is a tendency to blame others for bad outcomes or poor results. While it is often true that others have some effect on your ability to succeed, most of the responsibility lies with yourself. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”


Teams are always more effective when members are accountable to each other for their overall success and failure. The structure and strength of a team is an important part of understanding the application of accountability. Each team member is unique and brings his/her individual strengths and weaknesses to the table. Moreover, each team member is also imperfect and will not always perform, respond or produce to the best of his/her ability. The ability for the team to communicate, work together and problem solve is vital to the motivation of its members. Mutual respect for each member comes with the understanding that all members should be committed to use their strengths and work to improve their weaknesses for the greater good of the team.


In I Corinthians 12, the Bible talks about how the church (otherwise known as the body of Christ) is not made up of one person, but of many. The analogy uses the example of our body which has many vital organs and parts. If one of the parts (or people) is not working properly, it has a dramatic effect and could even be fatal. Whether in churches, businesses, public safety agencies or any other organization, it is clear when a team understands the strengths and benefits of unity and accountability. As a productive team member, you should be accountable for your actions, words, and performance. Furthermore, you should encourage your team and understand that your influence can help make difficult days better, which will ultimately improve the overall performance of your team.


If accountability is so impactful to the performance of a team, then why is it so difficult to embrace sometimes? Answer: because being accountable goes against our natural tendency to deflect responsibility when things go wrong or a goal is not reached. As a team member, you have to be willing to celebrate team successes, while being accountable for times when the team missed its mark. Even if you consider yourself to be a high performer on the team, there is always the opportunity for improvement. Most people have heard the old saying, “20% of the people in an organization do 80% of the work.” I am sure this is a norm for many organizations, but imagine what a team could accomplish if 50% of its members contributed to the majority of the work. What about 75%? You get the idea.


Challenge: Contribute to the success of your team, family or organization while being accountable and supporting those around you.


Published: March 1, 2018

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