When a doctor qualifies as he or she takes an oath called the “Hippocratic Oath” The oath taken is a promise to practice good medicine to the best of his or her ability. This is a personal promise made to self and is intended to assist the new doctor in carrying out the tasks of his/her profession in a professional manner. This is an oath to practice medicine in an ethical manner and at all times behave professionally.
There is a great deal of discussion at present regarding the introduction of such an oath in our schools. In principle this is a good thing. I see nothing wrong with this on condition our children understand what it means and they too realise it is a pledge they make to themselves. They must mean what they say and strive to live by the values and principles contained in the pledge.
Wouldn’t it be great if we had such a pledge or oath for all our leaders both in business and in government? This would be an oath of personal responsibility, an oath of accountability and an oath to behave ethically and honestly. This would be an oath intended not just for the business scene or the political arena but rather an oath to self.
“Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective” and directs others in a way that makes their combined effort more cohesive and coherent. Leaders carry out this process by applying leadership attributes, such as beliefs, values, ethics, character, knowledge and skills.
This is an extremely important aspect of leadership and appears at present to be overlooked in many instances. It is very easy to fall into bad ways and to allow things to slide when it comes to personal accountability.
Leaders need to demonstrate, put into practice and ensure adherence to efficiency, honesty, integrity, responsibility, ethics, transparency, and accountability. To expect others to behave as indicated and to adhere to such values can only happen if the leader is adhering to them, otherwise the leader is a hypocrite.
Martin Luther King said it poignantly: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Personal-accountability is staying true to self despite difficulties. It is doing the right thing when we are tempted to bend the rules for whatever reason. Deborah Lee puts it very well “Self-accountability is who you are when no one is looking”.
Personal accountability is a tonic when we feel hard done by and victimized. Personal accountability assists in releasing creativity so we can accomplish what is meaningful and important to us. Personal accountability means we admit when we are wrong and accept the consequences of our decisions and choices. There can be no choice without accountability.
© Des Squire (Managing Member) – AMSI and ASSOCIATES cc
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