Responsibility and Accountability

Responsibility and Accountability


What is my responsibility?  Have you ever found yourself questioning the responsibilities on your plate?  Is this responsibility really mine or does it belong to someone else?  How do I determine what’s mine and what’s not?

I met with a counselor a few years ago regarding an interpersonal relationship challenge I was having at the time. I left that session without the veil of unconsciousness on my life-long pattern for taking more than my share of responsibility.  My behavior had been such that I would do more and more in order to compensate for that other person doing less and less.

Holding onto responsibilities that belongs to someone else robs the other person of an opportunity to learn, grow, develop new skills, or to take on new challenges.

Ask yourself the following questions posed by Rob Lebow and Randy Spitzer in their book Accountability, Freedom, and Responsibility without Control:

  • What responsibility should I own as part of my existing job?
  • What responsibilities should I not own or give away, because I either do not enjoy doing them or believe I’m not the right person to own this activity?
  • What responsibilities should I share with others, such as team activities?
  • What new responsibilities or activities should I take on that I have never been allowed to do or participate in?


In my situation, I was dealing with a personal relationship. I learned that I was not holding that person accountable. I was fearful of reprisal if I did, and that’s what had me tolerating his behavior and holding back from honoring my boundaries. This translates directly to work-life situations, doesn’t it?


What’s Mine and What’s Not?

Check for an underlying fear. Hold the situation up to the light of your values, such as fairness, integrity, accountability, and self-care. Check your stress level for indications of misused energy.

Inquiry: How well am I managing my responsibilities?

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