Take Accountability For Your Decisions
December 11, 2020
When making any decision, there is one critical factor at play always- whether you have the power to decide or not.
- My teenaged son wants an iPhone 12 – the decision to have a phone is not in his control- I pay the bill, I decide.
- My son wants to choose between Economics and Biology as his major at college- the decision is his to make; he has the power to decide.
Similarly, at work,
- You want to recruit someone when there is a Headcount freeze. This requires approval from a higher authority – the decision is not in your power to take unless you have consent.
- You are the hiring manager, and you have to choose between two candidates- You have the power and the decision is yours to make.
In my younger days, I had a bad habit of seeking the endorsement of my supervisors for decisions that were in my control.
Looking back, I now know why-Because I was afraid of the accountability that came with the decision making.
“If something were to go wrong? I don’t want to suffer the burden of that decision alone.”
There is always some consequence for the option we exercise and the decision we take.
Small decisions are those where the upside or the downside is limited.
Big decisions are those where the impact of the upside or downside is significant.
For the small decisions, we don’t worry much. If the outcome is right, we are happy. If the result is not in our favor, we are still ok. The downside does not hurt much.
But on the big decisions, we start worrying. What if the outcome is not as we wish for it to be. The consequences of failing can be harrowing.
When we encounter such high impact decision-making points, we seek validation and endorsement, even though the decision is fully in our power. We look to others for sharing the burden of decision making.
The higher the possible downside, the more comfort we seek in sharing accountability with others. That way, we keep a line open to be able to say, “I was not alone in this; there were a few other people in this along with me.”
There is nothing wrong with seeking validation and endorsement. But be clear in your mind that finally, the decision is yours, and therefore the consequences are your responsibility.
Accountability means taking responsibility for the decisions made and being comfortable with the consequences-good or bad. It is about knowing that the buck stops with you for the decisions taken, and there is no one else to blame if something goes wrong.
There are many situations in our life when we have the power to make some big decisions that will have a significant bearing on what happens to us. Such High Impact Decision-making points in our life are character-defining.
Do we show up with courage and make our decisions taking responsibility for the outcome either way?
Do we give up our power by shirking responsibility and not making a decision because we are afraid of getting hurt?
Ironically, choosing between either of the options is in itself is a high-impact decision each one of us gets to make.