Looking at your goals, do you feel committed and capable? Do you feel your work motivation? Do you feel responsible for the results you have? Are you living your Accountability? Or do you say frequently “This is not my responsibility”, “I didn’t know about that”, “I didn’t achieve the results because of the current situation of the country”.
Sentences like these are very frequent in organizations and show how people don’t take responsibility and victimize themselves. All this reduces growth. It is important to overcome ones circumstances, take initiative, solve problems proactively and truly act. All this sums up in a fundamental concept to boost the Portuguese companies: accountability.
But what does accountability mean?
When we ask what accountability means, many people in Portugal respond that it is responsibility. Some refer that accountability is oriented towards the past: “Something that went wrong and now we have to find the responsible for it.” To us, accountability goes beyond simply “feeling responsible”. Bright Concept’s, as a member of DOOR International – the exclusive representative of Partners in Leadership all over the world – uses their definition: Accountability is a personal decision to be “above” the circumstances: see and analyse the situation, assume the responsibility, search for solutions and do it. We don’t only need people who say they are responsible, we need people who continuously analyse, solve and act in an accountable way.
How does accountability materialize?
The Partners in Leadership’s accountability model has two levels divided by a line. Below the Line there is the “Blame Game” or “Victim Cycle”, where you can hear sentences like “This is not from our department”, “I had told months ago that it was going to happen”, “Ask my boss, he must know”.
Above the Line we have the “Steps to Accountability”: see it, own it, solve it and do it. Above the Line we see what is necessary to achieve the key results of the company, take responsibility, motivate ourselves, look for solutions and begin acting.
For how long are you accountable?
When we talk about the model, many times people answer “But isn’t it a natural behaviour of human beings to complain once in a while?”. This comment makes sense: being Below the Line is something natural that can happen to any of us.
But, managing many change processes in companies in Portugal, we have found people who stay “Below the Line” for months. Many times they do this to make a stand. What they are not aware of is that this attitude not only affects the company’s results but also is negative to themselves, since it translates into demotivation and health problems. The true challenge of accountability is, therefore, to not get stuck below the line. In other words: to be aware when you go below the line, and get again above the line as soon as possible.
What is the advantage of being accountable?
In the Accountability development Programs that we put teams “Above the Line”, taking the decision to see what else they can do to go beyond circumstances, taking ownership of the situation, search for solutions and actually make it happen. And that’s how they can get bright results!
Article published in Human Magazine in December 2015 (in Portuguese) | Authors: Isabel Freire de Andrade and Oliver Rohrich