In Part I, we talked about accountability and responsibility as following through and not “dropping the ball.” Being accountable, or responsible, really means we are willing to take charge of something and then answer for the results, whether good or bad.

If we are willing to take charge of something, we are more likely to take it seriously and do what is needed to be successful. Our willingness to take charge of something is most often seen coming from our Assertiveness Style. And our desire not to fail is more easily seen from our Incentives Need.

  • Assertiveness Style: When looking at someone’s willingness to take charge of something, an individual’s Assertiveness Style is the first place to start (keep in mind the discussion from last month regarding Interests). The higher an individual’s Assertiveness Style, the easier it will be to ask them to take charge of something. When someone has a lower Style, they are less likely to want to take charge of something that is not in line with their Interests.
  • Assertiveness Need: From an individual’s Assertiveness Need, we can gauge if they have a “need” to take charge of things. If their Need is high, they need to be in charge of things sometimes. If it is low, they don’t. But, if someone with a high Need already feels they are in charge of enough (whether in their personal or professional life), then they will not desire to take charge of something new. It is important to note that just because an individual has a high Need, does not mean they will be willing to take charge of something and then be dependable.
  • Incentives Need: Once someone has agreed to take charge of something, we can gauge from that person’s Incentives Need how likely they are to take it seriously. When someone has a low Need, they are less concerned about how something impacts them and more concerned about how something impacts a group. If failure means they only hurt themselves, then the area of responsibility won’t be as important to them. When someone has a high Need, they are more focused on whatever impacts them personally, instead of being focused on the group. If failure means they hurt themselves, they are more likely to see the area of responsibility as a big deal.

Another important area to look at, as you may have guessed, is someone’s Insistence component. Our Insistence scores are closely correlated to how much we let fall through the cracks. It impacts our follow-through.

  • Insistence Style: The higher someone’s Style, the more likely a person is to keep a structured approach to things in order to prevent missing any details. High Insistence styles will naturally keep “To-Do Lists” and calendars in order to follow-through on details more effectively. Low Insistence styles are less likely to do that naturally and will struggle more with keeping themselves organized.
  • Insistence Need: The lower someone’s Need, the less they desire someone to help them stay organized. The higher the Need, the more that person desires help in order to stay organized.

So, if someone has a high Assertiveness Style, high Incentives Need, and high Insistence Style, they are more likely to agree to take charge of an area of responsibility, less likely to drop the ball because they don’t want to fail, and more likely to follow-through on all the details. This is just one example of a combination. Regardless of someone’s scores, there are ways to encourage accountability in others. It is important to look at “Extremes” in the Needs to understand the best way to encourage accountability.

We have to keep in mind that we are all different (as I’ve said a million times and will probably say a million more times). Everyone manages things differently, evaluates things differently, and places importance on things differently. No one can expect another person to be accountable in a certain area without understanding how that area relates to them and how they relate to it.

What areas do you see in your life in which you lack responsibility? How can others encourage accountability in you?