A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.—John Maxwell

We all make mistakes; sadly, all too often that includes justifying why we did (or said) what we did. And to make us feel better, we self rationalize why we did it, and add “why” and “however” to what we’re saying in hopes of lessening our error.  Wrong!

Why is being accountable so difficult? Maybe because we don’t want to look bad? Because we fear others may lose their appreciation for us? That we’re unable to be vulnerable since relationships and maybe even job security could be impacted?

The reality is pretty much the opposite. We need to realize that the lack of accountability does not serve us well. We lose the trust of others, we sever relationships, we get avoided, we get labeled, and team morale is diminished when lack of accountability is not addressed.

Don’t make excuses, don’t ignore that an error has occurred (or that you dropped the ball), and don’t point fingers. If you erred – own it and learn from it. This builds levels of trust, helps with integrity, and earns respect.

Author John G. Miller shares what truly accountable people freely disclose:

  • I did it.
  • I was wrong.
  • It’s my fault.
  • I shouldn’t have said that.
  • I shouldn’t have done that.
  • I’m sorry.
  • I will change today.

Do you consider yourself truly accountable? Do you struggle using the phrases listed above?

Owning up to our mistakes takes courage, it isn’t easy, and our pride may suffer, but in the long run it will help us become stronger, more effective, and appreciated.

I just think we need more accountability and more transparency.
—John Thune