I just heard of two cases that raised great alarm about our future. You see, I have always believed that we must invest in our children with education because will become our future leaders. Now, I am wondering about who will be our future leaders.
A professor for a University in Canada ordered, 50 of my books on The Power of Personal Accountability. Normally, quantities of my books are sold to Managers or HR Directors. But, this was a professor in the Science Department. I called to find out how they were using my book. The professor said, “I am buying it for my students.” As she further explained, “The students today seem to have an entitled view of life. For example, a student who flunked the last test, came to me to argue about her grade. She said that she deserved a “C” because she tried hard while taking the test.” She said, “reading your book is like allowing my students to take a ‘cold shower of reality’ and the most common remark is that they see a link between accountability and happiness. After reading your book, they are more committed to studying, to their careers and to establishing clear commitments in order to improve their lives.”
In a different situation, I was talking with a manger who described the following situation. “I have a young employee just out of university. After nine months on the job and failing, we decided to offer them a different position that they might succeed in, since we didn’t want to fire them. After being told about their lack of performance and the opportunity to do another job in the company, the employee asked the following question, ‘Does this mean I am going to get a raise in my pay?’”
As a parent and educator, I find these two stories a bit scary. And, these aren’t isolated examples of what I hear on a fairly regular basis. It is clear that these young adults have not experienced accountability in a way that would give them an understanding of behavior and consequences. I don’t mean punishment, but I do mean the natural cause and effect of life. If we as parents, teachers or coaches are providing our children with too much comfort so that they can avoid the pain we experienced in life, we could be contributing to their disease of entitlement. They simply don’t know better, because they haven’t experienced anything different.
How does this happen? When we remove grades from our education system because we have too many people flunking or getting D’s. When we as parents create agreements with our children only to repeatedly make exceptions because we don’t really want to make our children uncomfortable with the consequence. We want them to enjoy being a teenager and besides we weren’t the perfect kids. When we as managers set standards of performane, attitude and behavior but we don’t have follow up conversations that review the person’s effectiveness in meeting those standards because we are too busy, we are taking the meaning out of our commitments and agreements.
Accountability is critical, not just for getting results, but for learning and taking action to improve our results and quality of life. Without accountability people are lost in a world of expectation that if I show up, I should get paid and if I am there long enough (a year) I should get a raise, just because. Or, if I attend class on the test (no matter how many classes I missed, the homework I didn’t complete or the test I failed, I should get a “C” because I showed up for the test.
- What is your impact on those around you? Are you teaching them accountability and learning from consequences that we don’t prefer, or are we protecting those around us from experiencing uncomfortable consequences?
- Are you modeling accountability with the commitments you make and your response to the ones you break?
- Is there a way you could increase positive accountability in your home or workplace?
Please comment and share.