To whom are you accountable? What popped into your head first – boss? Spouse? Friend? Yourself?
I am amazed every day by people, and usually in a positive way. I believe that the majority of people are good, have big hearts and care about others, seek to do justice and hold themselves accountable. But of course there are some who do not. They may by nature be unwilling to hold themselves responsible, not care about how their actions affect others, or may do so because of stress (economic, relationship, illness, etc). I do not hold a PhD but I am analytical by nature and consider myself a pretty good judge of character. I created the following categories of accountability…see what you think.
The moral person holds herself accountable to herself, first and foremost. She knows if she does something that is not right she will not only affect others, but feel badly. She will want to take action and admit her faults. She also holds herself accountable to others. For many this is just part of who they are. It is part psychological and may be inbred, but also has a lot to do with how you were raised, where you live and with whom you associate yourself.
The pleaser holds himself accountable to others, like his boss or teammate, someone he looks up to or with whom he is in a relationship. He is eager to please and if he is surrounded by moral people he will likely become a moral person. His confidence will rise when he does something right, and if the people around him teach him to hold himself accountable he will be successful and confident.
The know-it-all is the person who actually thinks he is in the right, even when he is not. He may or may not hold himself accountable to anyone in particular. He is the one who, when called out for being unprofessional or making a poor choice, does not admit he is wrong or even apologize. I think deep down he knows he is not in the right, but he may see himself as superior or may just not want to admit to others that he was wrong. This person may have been surrounded by hard to please parents or peers at times of crucial development. He also may just have low self-confidence. These types may hold themselves accountable to others they admire, but they may do so temporarily, depending on what the big plan is. These people CAN be healed with a little confidence and some good guidance.
The immoral person really only cares about herself and does not hold herself accountable to others, maybe not even herself. She does not consider the feelings of others, or maybe does but does not really bother with them. She is out for herself – maybe to make a quick buck, get to the top, make more money. She may have been raised that way, or she may have hardened herself due to circumstances she has faced in life. She may even not consider her actions to be immoral or even wrong, and may just need to associate herself with the right people to change her viewpoint.
I created the above list because I see these types of people all the time. I saw them when I practiced law, when I was not working and raising my children, and throughout my real estate career. There may be a few other categories you may think of, and some people may fall into several at different times.
I think the lesson here is that we all should ask ourselves to whom we are accountable. We need to be accountable BOTH to ourselves and to our clients, peers, family, friends. If you make a mistake, do not be afraid to admit it. Do the right thing and you will not only be more successful, but happier.