A Frequently Asked Leadership Question from Lee Ellis – “Why has accountability become synonymous with intolerance? And how do people develop accountability the right way?”
Answer: “Accountability is best developed in an environment where it is demonstrated by the leaders and then regularly emphasized that it’s the expected way of operating. Ideally this starts at home and school where parents and significant others demonstrate by their day-to-day behaviors that they are accountable.
Also, it’s reinforced when people have clear defined responsibilities with clear expectations and then immediate accountability with consequences when those expectations are not fulfilled. When people don’t deliver on their promises, do their duty, fulfill expectations and consequences follow, they learn how the world works. Without accountability and consequences, bad lessons are interpreted that you can underperform, ignore your responsibilities and promises and nothing negative will happen—you can get off the hook. In the end, this does not serve anyone well.
Accountability comes sooner or later, even if it takes a generation or two. My concern is that our in-attention to accountability is already having consequences in our culture and it will likely become worse in the days ahead unless a majority of people take a stand. What does it mean that football coaches turn their heads to sexual abuse, when people attack speakers in a country that is supposed to have free speech, and now even politicians and journalist are saying that violence against people of the other party is justified? What does it mean when laws are not enforced against certain groups of people and then are used to punish other groups?
It appears that our current culture of tolerance and ‘being nice’ has been interpreted that there is no accountability. Also, over-protection of our young people, never letting them fail and bailing them out when they don’t meet their responsibilities seems to have taught them a very negative lesson about accountability and life.”
We’d love to hear your comments and insights–please share them below.
Watch the Trailer for Lee’s Upcoming Release, Engage with Honor: Building a Culture of Courageous Accountability –