What It Means to Be Accountable

UPDATED: May 15, 2020
PUBLISHED: May 1, 2020
What It Means to Be Accountable

“Accountability isn’t a way of doing, it’s a way of thinking.”

How do you hold yourself accountable, when someone else can’t? I don’t believe that it’s about holding yourself accountable. I believe it’s about being accountable.

Accountability is keeping your commitments to people. You’re responsible for things, but you’re accountable to people. If you’re working from home or working on a side gig, you have things you need to get done. Those are your responsibilities. Accountability, keeping commitments to people, is based on a series of relational commitments, not tactical commitments.

Tactical commitments are: “I’ll get the report done by 10” or “I’ll have the project done tomorrow.” The relational commitments, however, are: “I’ll stand by you when all hell breaks loose,” a commitment to a good reputation, and very importantly, a commitment to your values.

These are relational commitments that build a bond between people and build accountability, but accountability starts with us as individuals. I’d like to challenge you to think about what your values are. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are your professional values? What do you expect as a level of expertise and professionalism?
  • What are your relational values? How do you connect with yourself and the people around you?
  • What do you stand for? What is your character?
  • What are your community values? What do you believe is the way that you connect to the community in which you live, serve and derive your business?

When you know what your values are and then you are living your values, what you’ll discover is that you’ll be getting the stuff done that you want to get done.

Accountability isn’t a way of doing, it’s a way of thinking. It’s how you think about people. It’s how you think about those commitments. The unspoken commitments that tie you closely to them.

Take the time to define what it is your values are and then commit to yourself to live those values. Commit to live those values to the level of nonnegotiable, no matter what, and when you do that, you’ll find that you’ll be building not only a relationship with yourself that’s more meaningful, a relationship with others, but you’ll be achieving what it is you want to be achieving.

Related: Make These 10 Commitments to Live a Truly Accountable Life

Leadership Keynote Speaker Sam Silverstein’s mission is to empower people to live accountable lives, transform the way they do business, and to thrive at extraordinary levels. By challenging leaders to shift priorities, cultivate an organizational culture, and inspire both individuals and teams to take ownership in fresh and results-producing ways – he is helping companies dramatically increase productivity, profitability, and growth. Global Gurus recently announced Sam Silverstein as one of the World's Top 10 Organizational Culture Professionals.

Sam is the author of seven books including Non-Negotiable, No More Excuses, Making Accountable Decisions, No Matter What, The Lost Commandments and The Success Model As a former executive and owner, Sam’s manufacturing and distribution companies sold over $100 million in products and services. He successfully sold one of his businesses to a Fortune 500 company. Today, Sam writes, speaks, and consults with organizations around the globe to think differently, work with renewed purpose, and achieve record-breaking results. He works with entrepreneurs, multi-national companies, corporations, and government agencies to drive increased engagement and productivity.