The Delusion of Being Self-Accountable



This is another blog on our company values (from our 10 ATBs), a series underscoring a more modern look at value driven organizations.

Story: I personally know about six people right now, who for one reason or another, are looking for work. Even though the economies in the U.S. and Canada are relatively good, and unemployment is quite low, these talented people are having a hard time landing their next job/careers. And to a tee, they have all experienced one very frustrating thing about the process. People do NOT get back after interviews with the courtesy of a “NO,” at minimum, let alone feedback. This is usually after the interviewer makes a commitment like, “I will get back to you by Tuesday next week.” Tuesday comes along, and crickets. The interviewee not wanting to appear too anxious, just waits. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. By The following Tuesday, the interviewees feel compelled to leave texts, emails or social media DMs for the interviewer. After all, for each person, this is an urgent matter. And guess what? They typically never get any response. How disrespectful! And how come the value of being self-accountable within the interviewer has gone so seriously missing?

Key Point: Why do people describe themselves as very self-accountable, yet if you watch their behavior, the value is inconsistently applied? I think it’s because people end up confusing wanting to be a certain way, versus actually being. True self-accountable people are imperfect, like all of us. However, these folks consistently display the following behaviors:

  1. Take responsibility for both making and meeting their personal commitments.
  2. First question asked relative to the way things are is, “what can I do about it?”
  3. Never spend time blaming others, or themselves, for situations; they are serious, serial learners.
  4. Take action in an urgent and timely way on things that deeply matter.
  5. When missing a commitment, authentically own it; sincerely apologize and learn from it.

Obviously in the example above, there is some serious self-accountability of the hiring manager missing. Please call those unsuccessful interviewees today!

At ATB, one of our 10 ATBs is to be personally and fiercely accountable! It is my favorite.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Give serious thought before personally committing. Your self-accountability value is too important to put it at risk if you miss.
  2. Make the trend your friend on the other behaviors defined in the steps above. Be fierce about behaving this way.
  3. If you are an interviewer, for goodness sake, be self-accountable and personally call back those “no’s” in a timely, courteous way. Ideally, give them personal feedback so the interviewee might grow.

Always learning to be more self-accountable,


One Millennial View: This is one of those “out of sight, out of mind” lessons that people know they should improve, but it’s just so easy not to. This type of self-accountability takes discipline, courage, the confrontation of discomfort, and more. On paper, most hiring managers probably believe they have this quality. But just like a detail on a resume or cover letter they might be rejecting, self-accountability is a credential many list, but may not be practicing consistently. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis