Many people, and a few penguins, will do anything imaginable to avoid confrontation when faced with blame or shame as a predictable response. We’d rather stick our heads in the sand, suck it up or redirect than deal with what’s really going on and risk a potential face to face conflict. We will even sacrifice the relationship entirely as opposed to experiencing direct confrontation. So, what’s a productive response when we feel let down by someone or feel their actions were inappropriate? We can choose to hold them and ourselves accountable.
Holding people accountable does not translate into the green light for blaming and shaming when your expectations have not been met. It does not mean railing against them when you feel frustrated or disappointed. Accountability means you have clearly set mutual understandings of what’s expected, and you follow through with maintaining those boundaries as you respond to a failure to hold up one’s end of the bargain. You find out why someone failed to perform as expected, and then you maintain your original objective for the desired outcome. You renegotiate or move on to a new plan for getting what you want. You hold each participant accountable by acknowledging the situation, the set back and consciously choosing your next move. You acknowledge your experience, your feelings and your desires. You listen openly to their perspective and then engage in collaborative problem solving to renegotiate mutually acceptable expectations.