Many people view accountability and responsibility as the same thing, leading to many misunderstandings and unnecessary conflicts. The dictionary meaning - in short - of responsibility is “the state of being held as the cause of something that needs to be set right”, and accountability is “the willingness or obligation to explain one's actions or to admit being the cause of a problem”. But in both cases, the concept of accountability and responsibility involves much more than what is indicated in the dictionary and understood by most people.
Accountability is the obligation to facilitate, report, explain or teach and that our actions and words do not knowingly or deliberately affect and influence others in any adverse way. Therefore, accountability should be rooted in awareness and mindfulness, starting with an unbiased, unfiltered and complete recognition of current realities. Of course, once an individual, team or organisation recognises their realities, they must accept ownership of it, learn from mistakes made and figure out a workable strategy to productively overcome the obstacle. Accountability also implies taking action and follow-through with such action until an objective is obtained and/or a goal is acquired.
In essence, accountability implies…
- Accept and embrace ownership for your present circumstances.
- Determine solutions and devise a path or strategy forward to resolve things.
- Take the necessary action and relentlessly follow through.