As the end of 2010 rolls around taking the time to reflect on the year, your beliefs and values, can perhaps, help the move forward in 2011. It is important that the behaviors we manifest represent the beliefs and values that we have. C4K values accountability. In his book, The Speed of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey makes the observation that when it comes to being trustworthy and building trust, you cannot talk your way out of a situation you have behaved your way into. With that in mind, what are some of the character traits that are essential both personally and professionally? In other words, what are the principles that those of us who work with young people should live by? It is a fact that one of the most important roles we play when working with young people is that of the role model. Every behavior we demonstrate gives permission to a child or youth to manifest the same behavior. (Certainly this means that when others demonstrate a behavior that we do not appreciate we must at least consider if and/or how we gave them permission to do that.)
So as 2010 comes to an end, what are those values that role models might want to consider in the list of “the” Top 13? Let’s begin with accountability. Accountability has been defined as the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions (and of course if willingness is not there, it becomes the obligation to account for one’s behaviors). Accepting this responsibility is the first step in becoming independent and opening the possibility of working with others in a state of interdependence. Dan Zadra comments about some favorite expressions of small children: “It’s not my fault. . . They made me do it. . . I forgot.” Some favorite expressions of adults: “It’s not my job. . . No one told me. . . It couldn’t be helped.” True freedom begins and ends with personal accountability." Demonstrating for young people that we accept responsibility for our actions, without excuse when we fall short, can go a long way to “undo” these bad habits. The fact of the matter is this, there are many things that can act as obstacles to our performing in precisely the way we desire, and the question becomes, with this being the truth, ‘What will we choose to do?’ ‘Will we let people know we will not be able to meet our objective?’ ‘Will we renegotiate a time frame?’ ‘Will we work more diligently to accomplish the task?’ ‘Will we try a new strategy and enlist additional support?’ Accepting responsibility does not mean we are always successful, it simply means that we are responsible.
Following are some great quotes that address accountability. Consider them as you reflect on your own performance in 2010.
• "Accountability breeds response-ability." Stephen R. Covey
• "We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions." Ronald Reagan
• "Life is not accountable to us. We are accountable to life." Denis Waitley
• "Good men prefer to be accountable." Michael Edwards
• "We are accountable for our decisions in our personal life so why shouldn't we be just as accountable in our work life." Catherine Pulsifer