We live in a world where accountability is uncommon; it’s downright rare for someone to take the blame for a mistake they’ve made.
“I sent the pitch; it must have delayed on their end”…Wrong, you sent it after the deadline
“I’m not sure where the model is, I left it right here on the desk”…Wrong, you left it at home and now our presentations is screwed
“The customer’s attitude caused me to abuse her in public”…Wrong, you’re a hot head who lacks basic manners
“I did not use tax havens to avoid paying my dues; everything is on the up-and-up”…Do I look stupid?
Why do we avoid owning up when we mess up? Maybe we are cowards unable to face impending trouble. Or perhaps we’re scared that falling on our swords eliminates any possibility of a second chance.
Regardless of our reasons, it’s always shameful to see leaders and potential leaders circumvent blame.
The Fish Rots from the Head Down
In business, rot (corruption, embezzling, poor customer service, inferior products, and substandard working conditions) can usually be traced right up to the top.
What most leaders forget is that their actions dictate the actions of their subordinates. When they behave in a poor manner and defy the same mandates that they swear to uphold, others follow suit.
After all, if my boss is skimming money off the top, why am I grinding it out for a meager salary?
Once this behavior starts to become common, it slowly gets enshrined in the company culture.
Entrepreneurs and the Blame Game
Fortunately, in this digital era nothing gets hidden for too long, meaning that this unacceptable behavior will soon make headlines.
Unfortunately, our leaders are masters of the blame game. Their ego means that everyone but them is culpable of their mistakes.
This same ego is why Chase Bank is under receivership; its executives having disappeared after proclaiming their innocence in regards to the collapse of the bank.
It’s the same reason why only one lowly employee got arrested for the illegal practices that lead to the financial meltdown of 2008. According to the Big Short, there should be plenty of greedy bankers in jail.
But even in both of these situations, you can trace the rot higher. Central banks/reserve systems that fail to regulate wayward banks. Politicians who refuse to pass stricter laws because they hold personal stakes. And most importantly, citizens who quickly forget the pain caused by the actions of a few.
Society and Accountability
The simple fact is that our society shuns accountability. It’s why dishonest leaders everywhere can walk with their heads held high after being implicated in a scandal.
Yes, we’ll protest for a few days, but then we’ll forget or get sidetracked by other problems. Who can we blame when this same situation happens again? We didn’t fight for ourselves!
As individual citizens we have collective power. If our leaders can’t be accountable, then it’s up to us to take on that role.
I know that it’s not fun and games being an activist. We’ve seen activists beaten, arrested, fired, mocked, and stolen from. But activism is not just protesting or holding rallies. Not all activists play the same part!
We do our part when we refuse to elect the same leaders that ‘do us dirty’ time and time again. We do our part when we sign petitions that force someone with power to act. We do our part when we donate to organizations that are dedicated to exterminating rot. We do our part when we seek out leadership roles where we can affect the change we want to see. We do our part when we preach to our friends and family about accountability, and then practice what we preach. We do our part when we work with and for people with integrity. We do our part when we give the finger to crooked business men and women, instead of praising their ill gotten wealth. We do our part when we build our businesses on the foundation of accountability.
Our collective outrage and collective power is more than anyone can imagine.
If the leaders in our communities are leading us astray, and then playing ignorant when confronted about their actions, it becomes our duty to hold them accountable.
We also need to work our hardest to maintain our integrity, even we find ourselves in a business environment where integrity isn’t that important.
If you found this post interesting, don’t forget to share it with your friends, colleagues, and family. Also drop me a comment telling me about your own experience with accountability- or the lack thereof.
I hope you have a great week, and I’ll see you back here next Monday.