Two types of people exist in this world: those who hold themselves accountable for their actions (or inaction) and those who never do. When it comes to accountability in the workplace, things get more complicated.
Now let’s get one thing straight: when you become accountable for your actions, you will take control of your life. You will acknowledge what you need to do and what you should and shouldn’t have done. You will be able to drive your life in the direction you want it to go — to strive for your strategic life goal.
To be an employee is to be accountable in the workplace. But unless you have specific reasons, I cannot see why someone who assumes full responsibility for all his actions would choose to remain an employee. Why would this person choose work for somebody else instead of himself?
Accountability in the workplace… be careful
I, Alex Valassidis, could never work for other people as an employee. But when life gave me lemons, I made lemonade, working as an employee to serve my strategic goal. When my business collapsed, I worked as a customer support specialist here in Barcelona for a notoriously crooked call center company. I did not belong there. But working there did not bother me because it served my purpose: to make some money to pursue my ultimate goal — to create my own company.
After I quit working for the call center crooks, I was hired by a global software company serving the German market. The conditions were better, but again, I was an employee. When they fired me, some of my colleagues even cried (I never understood why). I found another job after a month. But still, I was an employee until I started freelancing. Finally, I created Vparagon, my sales outsourcing consultancy.
It’s okay to be an employee — but to have an employee mentality is a problem. Be careful because accountability in the workplace can be a trap: others may try to hold you accountable for their errors or shortcomings.
Be accountable for your actions and wrongdoings. But limit your accountability, and don’t assume responsibility for others’ mistakes. Be strict and specific because if you are not, others will hold you accountable for their actions while denying their own responsibility and accountability.
If your management lacks the morality, the ability, but most of all, the balls to see where your faults begin, where they end, and who you are at the end of the line — they may use your accountability against you.
Accountability in the workplace yes, but … defend your position.
Defend your position directly to those who treat you unjustly by taking advantage of your accountability, and most of all, defend yourself against managers who refuse to see your side. Accept your wrongdoings, but stand up for your rights. Have a standpoint in life, regardless of what the outcome will be. If you are about to lose your job, let it go. Trust me; you will find another one — a better one. People hire you for the value you bring to them, not because you are nice. If they value you so little, they fire you because you stand your ground, raise your voice, and stand your ground. Either you are a leader or a sheep; the choice is yours.
I come from Europe’s most corrupt country — Greece. Greeks have many positive characteristics. But regarding accountability, they are at the bottom. I cannot think of any other people on Earth who blame others more for their misery — not only on a national and generic level but also on a deeply personal level as well. There is always someone or something else to blame, but at the same time, they do not attempt to change the existing situation, as if complaining satisfies them.
Let me give you two standard excuses I have heard — very bold ones.
We are poor.
My questions here are:
Why are you impoverished?
What have you done to combat it?
Why don’t you educate yourself?
Why don’t you work? Why did you not take this or that job?
This country does not give me the opportunity — does not allow me to do certain things.
Why don’t you leave this country?
Why don’t you start learning a foreign language?
Have you researched which countries you could immigrate to and how?
Do you work to put some money on the side so that you can leave this country?
I know that life is a bitch, and these positive steps might seem easy to do, but are some people so easily overwhelmed by life that they cannot do those steps?
Yes, there are! Not everyone is capable of taking action. But how many do not? Is it half? No, much less than that. Between 1 to 2%, for reasons beyond their control, are unable to act, but the rest are just making excuses.
You are accountable for all your actions, but equally, you are also responsible for your inaction. But should you take this or that step, or should you avoid taking it? Let me make a few suggestions. Think of all the positive and negative outcomes your decision to take Step 1 could have. But also think about all the negative or positive results that might occur if you DON’T take those steps. Where will you be one year or ten years from now?
Your accountability in the workplace will help you to achieve your strategic, personal goals. You should make all your decisions and apply all your actions based on where you want to see yourself (not the company you are working for) in the next one, two, or five years.
More important than your accountability in the workplace is your responsibility for your personal goals, ambitions, and loved ones. If you purposely (or even unintentionally) avoid taking personal responsibility, you will never accomplish your goals or make any of your dreams come true.
If you have a business and you are struggling with your sales set up, the organizational structure, the results generated, your expectations, operations or you just don’t know where to start, then let me know a little bit more about it and let us see if there is room for improvement and a common ground for a potential collaboration.