By Alyssa Gregory

Who Holds You Accountable?

By Alyssa Gregory

Everyone needs to be accountable for his or her actions. When it comes to public accountability and the things we do in everyday life, we have the law, ethical standards, our own morals and values, and the expectations of society to use as an accountability check-in.

Plus, we usually have family, peers, and sometimes, even strangers who make us stand up and take responsibility for our actions. It’s not vastly different in business; there’s business law, ethics, company policies and the expectations of our clients and colleagues.

You simply have to be accountable for what you do, or don’t do, when you’re in the public eye, regardless of how large or small the “public” is.

Got Personal Accountability?

As you set goals and outline plans for moving yourself forward in work and life, accountability is key. You have to hold yourself accountable for the commitments that you make in order to see a positive change.

The problem is that our own personal accountability frequently comes after everything else on our plates. We live up to our responsibilities with our clients, groups we belong to, volunteer initiatives we’re a part of, our family commitments, and any other aspect of our lives where someone else is counting on us. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for conducting our own personal accountability check-ins.

Call in Reinforcements

The truth is that even though it can seem impossible to carve out enough time to focus on your own personal commitments, it’s necessary if you want to continue to grow and develop. Some of us are better at finding time for personal accountability than others, but almost all of us can benefit from calling in reinforcements.

One of the best ways to increase the odds that you will hold yourself accountable and give your own personal goals the attention they need is by bringing someone else in on the process.

By teaming up, you automatically make your personal accountability public. Now, your own goals and efforts measure closer on the priority scale to the rest because you have an accountability partner expecting action from you. It’s not so easy to let your responsibilities slip when you have someone who will call you on it.

Accountability Partner Options

Your best match for an accountability partner is someone who is willing to make a commitment to support you in your growth and development. This person should understand where you are currently, where you are aiming to go, what resources you have available to help you get there, and when you intend to hit the target.

A good accountability partner is someone who is honest, focused, respectful and dedicated. Your partner could be a coach or mentor, a colleague, a collaboration partner, or even a family member. Make sure you respect the person who will be holding you accountable so you can take and apply their constructive criticism.

For a mutually beneficial effort, become an accountability partner for him/her. It will be easier for both of you to commit to the process and see it through when you both have so much to gain.

Who’s Your Partner?

Do you have an accountability partner to keep you on track? How do you work together?

Image credit: svilen001

  • Wolf_22

    Having dissociative identity disorder helps a lot in situations like this. You can have multiple people inside one body, all of which have multiple arrays of collaborative ideas! All in real-time!

    “Actually, I beg to differ there, Wolf. I find it rather cumbersome.”
    “What? Why’s that Fred?”
    “That wasn’t Fred… It was John, Wolf…”
    “Too many streams… Can’t… handle… much… more…”

    Okay, maybe not as productive as I originally thought. :)

    Humor aside, the only true partner I’ve ever needed is me, I, and thy! Sure, like everyone else, I’ve had partners, supervisors, and subordinates… Some were good, others… Well…

    They’re nice to have in ways Doctor House appreciates the company of Cameron, Chase, and Foreman; but still, it all boils down to ourselves, because in the end, only you can prevent forest fires…

    In other words, you can have a billion zillion people cracking whips against your acre but your stop-and-go button is something only you can push.

  • The problem will relying on others for your own accountability, is that other people inevitably colour their attitude to you by expectations that are nothing to do with you – in other words, everyone you know wants you to be a certain way, and will only give you feedback that brings you closer to their ideal of you.

    It’s like asking your mother what clothes to wear. She won’t tell you what looks good on you, she’ll tell you what makes you look how she sees you.

    If you’re using other people’s expectations to guide you – whether those of an individual person, or society in general, then you’re defining yourself in terms of other people. And in my opinion, that’s an awful thing to do to yourself.

  • WindUpDoll

    I don’t think the author is talking about reliance. I read it more like that person would be a sounding board. Someone who will give you honest feedback and advice & hold your butt to the fire if need be.

    Like a personal trainer will physically push you out of your comfort zone so you get the results you want.

    I agree, though, that if that’s the only way you’ve got accountability, you’ve got way more problems than a SitePoint article can help.

Get the latest in Entrepreneur, once a week, for free.