The Accountability Superpower

I get to work with business professionals operating in a variety of industries. It’s our job to create and run for them soft skills workshops for entry-level newbies to seasoned executives. One of the most important soft skills we’ve seen lacking in new-to-workforce talent, is an understanding of accountability. They’re plagued with the “It’s Not My Fault Syndrome.”

A couple of years ago I was running an elevator pitch workshop with a local college’s graduate program. Unfortunately, there was a train stuck on the tracks directly in front of me and regardless of my careful time management, I was 1/2 hour late to the event. And while the train debacle wasn’t my fault, being late was my responsibility.

We are responsible for our choices. We are responsible for the effects and consequences of our choices and actions. Even so, given that accountability is a rarefied commodity, should it be considered a superpower?

We have to differentiate between fault and responsibility as well, and there is a difference. If you’re in stop and go traffic and you decide to scroll through your emails and accidentally bump the car in front of you, then that’s your fault, and your responsibility. If you’re in the same traffic situation and the car behind you bumps you hard enough for you to bump the car in front of you, it’s not necessarily your fault, but now you may bear some responsibility (caveat: we’re not insurance experts).

There is power in owning mistakes, gaffs, goofs and f*ck-ups. You are where the buck stops. It speaks to integrity and trustworthiness. We are each the leader of our own life. How much do you really trust the person who is quick to accept credit when things go right, but never any blame when things go wrong?

Accountability can make the world better. By acknowledging what/when we’ve done wrong, we give ourselves the ability to be thoughtful and to do better next time. The world needs more of that superpower.

LB Adams is the Founder of Practical Dramatics, headquartered in Charleston, SC.  Her company is responsible for providing stellar training events that utilize theatre strategies to help humans grow more profitable conversations with other humans. To find out more about training services OR to talk about pie, please reach out to us at 843-771-0753.