When you think of accountability, what comes to mind?
For some, it may be a reprimand or negative consequence for falling short of an expectation or goal. For others, it may be viewed as a coaching opportunity. Either way, accountability is a good thing when creating a positive culture.
According to whatis.com, accountability is an assurance that an individual or an organization will be evaluated on their performance or behavior related to something for which they are responsible. According to leadership coach and college professor Jack Slavinski, there are eight principles of accountability, so it’s a very complex skill to learn. Yes, accountability is a skill that is developed with consistent practice. The eight principles are:
I work in the Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical School District, and we have four core values:
Our leadership team constantly talks about and works hard to model our core values to ensure they are more than just words on a poster. We infuse them when developing new systems, some of our teachers use them to create shared expectations with students in classrooms, and our PBIS Team has designed lessons to teach them to students.
A few years ago, we collaboratively described what our values look like in action, but since then, we have several new leaders, teachers, and other staff members, so we are in the process of redefining each value to ensure organizational understanding and alignment. The more alignment, the stronger our culture will be.
Thinking about the importance of accountability reminds me of a video about a custodian at a middle school who had to find a way to solve a complex problem that cost him time and effort. As you watch the video, think about the eight principles of accountability and consider which ones he applied. Then, ask yourself, “Which of the principles am I strongest at, and which one is an area of improvement?” Then, decide what you will do about it to improve your classroom, department, or building culture.
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