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Accountability - skill or attitude?


Every one of us who ever dealt with different characters beyond small talk knows that we are all looking for one common trait in others: accountability.

Either we ourselves are people to count on or not, we are all looking for having an accountable partner in a one-on-one or group-situation. But in every area of our life, we should take a serious look in the mirror if we always walk what we talk or if we just say and promise things for the sake of superficial politeness and then turn our backs.

Accountability probably is the one trait that gets way too little attention when it comes to hiring processes. Values mirror areas of responsibleness that get fewer kudos than a resume full of experiences.


Shared values hold people accountable

Imagine the following situation: you schedule an online meeting with a person you have just met on one of your Social Media business channels because he or she does a similar job as you do and you see the potential of fertile mutual inspiration. This person seems to be excited to virtually meet and confirms the time and date for the exchange of knowledge and ideas. You make time. You put it in your calendar with an invitation to that person.

Three days later is the agreed upon date and then, 45 minutes before the scheduled meeting, you get a calendar notice saying, the meeting is cancelled. Nothing else. Twenty minutes later comes a notice of “will be back in two weeks”. More or less an automatic response…written then. No personal apologies or note about a postponed suggestion for an alternate meeting date.

This person clearly functions on other values and priorities.

Which is fine. Even if this kind of person is sometimes making us feel disappointed with our own progress.


Priorities follow values

The person in this example above sets his or her accountability into other priorities. He or she does not feel the need to exchange with or meeting a stranger. Doing something else takes priority over being held accountable by you, the stranger.

Hopefully, this person shows accountability towards other people and tasks, which are reflecting their values.

We have to understand that collaboration, communication and mutual understanding are only possible within a shared value system. This knowledge should be wisely used to hold oneself accountable in personal and business life. Simply said, if you want something, you have to show your appreciation and be there, show up, do what you promised and experience it with a person of similar values.

If you do so and your efforts are not being appreciated as in the example above you can be sure that this fact won’t change. This is the part where we have to distance ourselves from acquaintances, friends, family, colleagues and jobs…and potential new contacts.


Accountability is born from Appreciation

Not being appreciated by a lack of accountability is a more than enough reason to “break up” with someone, since oneself does not belong to the other person’s value system. Experiencing similar repeated behaviour from the same person should become a red flag for you.

Appreciation shapes accountability since it is an expression of shared values.

At work, we try to do our best with things we like and love to do, which makes us accountable.

Things we don’t like we try to avoid and probably even hide from since those things are not reflecting our value system. Some of us may even become unaccountable.

For company leaders it means that they have to make sure, that the people they hire and work with are sharing the same values, thus can be held accountable. They want to reach a common goal with mutual respect and by speaking the same language. In the reverse, it means that employees can trust the leadership to have their back and support them with their own values.

Mutual accountability is the key to a loyal connection between leadership and the workforce. It leads to positive value-based company culture and results in desired outcomes concerning company goals.

Hire wisely and do yourself and others a favour by taking a closer look at values instead of only experience.

Peter Schutz, former president and CEO of Porsche AG and motivational speaker put it the right way:

“Hire character. Train skill.”

>> Accountability – skill or attitude? Let me know your thoughts.



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