Accountability: (Merriam Webster) An obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.
(Urban Dictionary) A word lacking a definite meaning. Often used in conjunction with words, “regulation”, “greed”, and “oversight” (all of which have equally vague definitions) on major news networks to elicit emotional responses from their brain-dead viewers.
Accountability. Why is this such a hard thing for us to find within ourselves at times? When things get tough, it’s always easier to point the finger at someone else. But when we take responsibility for our own actions and become accountable for the roles that we play, what do we gain? At some point in life, it is important for us all to learn how to become accountable for the things that we do. This is called MATURITY.
Case in point:
A few weeks ago, a male friend of mine asked me to help him with an assignment for one of his grad school classes. He knew I was a good writer and was having some trouble and I did not mind helping. Long story short, he waited until the morning the assignment was due to actually give me the assignment that he wanted me to help him with. Not only did he wait until the last minute to give me the assignment, but I also had to go to work, which meant that the amount of time that I had to work on the assignment was even shorter.
When I finally got the time to work on the assignment, I was met with nothing but attitude from my male friend. There were certain questions that I had to ask him in order to complete the assignment, but he refused to answer them or gave me nothing but a nasty attitude. Mind you, this was HIS homework assignment. At this point, my patience and empathy for him went out the window. How do you ask someone for help with something YOU are doing and then get an attitude with the person that is helping you?
After about an hour of me working on the assignment, and getting little to no help from my friend, he sends me a text message saying that it was almost 30 minutes before his class was supposed to start and since I hadn’t finished the assignment yet, and he would still need to print it out, etc. that there really was no more point of “stressing myself out”. So I replied to his text message by asking him if he still wanted me to send the work I had done to him so he could at least have something to turn in. I received no response. I sent another message and even called, and still received no response. After receiving no response, and having dealt with the previous attitude from my friend, I stopped working on the assignment and did nothing else. I did not send what I had been working on because, once again, he did not respond to me. I went about my business and went out to have drinks with a girlfriend.
As I am out enjoying my drink, my phone begins to vibrate. It’s a text message from my male friend. The text message read, “Thanks for nothing.” Now see, this is where ACCOUNTABILITY comes in. Here you have this grown man, who acknowledged that he needed help with his homework (no problem there). However, this grown man waited until the last minute to ask for help with his assignment, not giving any consideration to the other person’s schedule that was helping him. Not only did he wait until the last minute to wait for help, but also he was not cooperative while receiving the help and ultimately did not stand up and take responsibility for the role that his actions played in his assignment not getting turned in. He actually blamed me!
Own up to your s**t. That’s the basic definition of accountability. In this day in age, is it is far too easy for us to pass the blame and responsibility of our actions on to someone else. Stop it! Take ownership of what you do. As one of my favorite bloggers, Funky Dineva, always likes to put it, “Stand firm in your word while you’re walking in your talk.” People will respect you a whole lot more when you just own up to the things that you have done, especially when you are wrong, and are more willing to be understanding.