Accountability. You’ll have heard the word I’m sure. But have you ever considered what it actually means? And why it’s so important?
Well, consider this. Have you ever set yourself goals, or decided what it is you want to happen, felt fired up about it, but then not followed through? Goal setting and planning is excellent. It’s a big part of what we do ourselves and with our clients, but it’s no good if it rarely results in the outcome you want.
So what do you do if you keep letting yourself off the hook?
One of the best ways is to tell someone else. By committing the goals you’ve set yourself to another person, you’re not nearly as likely to let yourself off the hook. Or leave the work undone.
Gaining accountability from others means you’re not just relying on your own will power and lack of procrastination, but on external support. This can have a hugely positive impact on the the achievement of the goals you set yourself.
So what are the benefits of accountability, and how does it work?
Improved standard of work.
When someone else is going to be hearing about your progress, you’re more likely to maintain a higher standard of effort and output. Think about when someone watches you undertake a task. Do you make extra effort to be seen to be doing it well?! And are you more likely to slack off if you’re left to your own devices? Whether you realise it or not, the pressure of someone else seeing what you’re doing gives you more reason to do it well.
You are more committed to the outcome, and therefore more likely to carry through. As mentioned above, when you only commit to yourself, it’s really not that hard to shirk the responsibility and leave things undone. Your ability and desire to get through your tasks when you’ve committed to another person, increases.
A different perspective
Often someone in a mentor or accountability partner role who is keeping you accountable can see things you can’t, and challenge you as to whether it’s the right thing to be doing. This can be enormously helpful and stop you sometimes wasting time on the wrong things.
Better time management
You become better at sticking to deadlines. When you’re committing to someone else, you need to agree on a date to get things done and check in by. This helps goal setting be much more effective. A goal without a deadline is just a wish. You need to know when it has to be done by for you to have any urgency about the task.
Learning from each other
Working alone can be lonely. And you can keep repeating the same patterns and get the same results. Working with others can give you a sense of perspective and possibly save you from making mistakes as you can avoid doing things others have done that didn’t work.
Keeping things in perspective
Accountability partners or mentors might help you realise where you have bigger issues that need to be tackled. Or perhaps where you’re wasting time and energy worrying about things that aren’t a big deal, or might never happen.
This increased level of responsibility and commitment to time frames is likely to lead to you having more solid and helpful habits in place. You are likely to give up some of your usual procrastination go to’s when you’re facing a deadline.
Whilst you will also receive constructive criticism at times, you’re also bound to receive positive feedback that will boost your self belief and confidence. It’s good to know that what we’re doing is leading us in a good direction, and even that we’re doing a good job.
Accountability is something we encourage, and forms a cornerstone of our 12 month course. Not only do our students have open communication lines with their course facilitator, but they are usually working in a group, which allows the bouncing around of ideas and opportunities to cowork.
Accountability doesn’t necessarily mean someone else will take control and tell you what to do. It still relies on you being proactive and handling your side of the relationship. It’s not a magic wand in that sense.
However, if you embrace the relationship and commit to making regular contact and reciprocating if it’s an accountability partner, then your chances of making progress and achieving your goals, increases hugely.
Where do I find it?
Accountability can either come from an accountability partner. This is where you are both working towards your own goals, but committing those to each other, and to dates you want to achieve them by.
You can also ask a friend to hold you accountable, although it may not be as effective as you might not feel the same need to stay committed.
The other option is to have a mentor. A mentor is engaged to impart knowledge and experience to help you progress. But sharing what you’re working on and how you plan to tackle things, will also keep you accountable as that mentor will want to know what progress you’re making.
Have you had an experience with accountability? Do you recognise the power it holds? We’d love to hear your story!