When I was a young boy my mother would say to me, when you are seven years old you will have to give God account for all the wrong things you do.
When I grew older I reflected on her admonition until I understood the concept of accountability. Throughout my teaching career, I always believed that I was accountable to my students for what I did to their minds and hearts. I was also accountable to their parents, to the government and to God. I was answerable to all those stakeholders. I understood accountability as accepting the responsibility for my actions. It also meant that I had to be transparent in what I did and had to be willing for others to observe and evaluate my performance. The feedback from that evaluation would help me to modify mý behaviour to perform at a higher level. I love the words of Brian Koslow:
"The more you are willing to accept responsibility for your actions, the more credibility you will have." Note the difference between accountability and responsibility. Accountability is concerned about results and focuses on results.
Responsibility focuses on the tasks and how well you do your work. I was responsibile for my students learning. I was accountable for their performance. Responsibility looked at how I taught my students. Accountability required me to take ownership of their results.
Accountability is important in the home and the workplace in order for these organizations to function effectively and efficiently. When members of an organization are held accountable for what they are supposed to do, it breeds trust among the individuals. It allows people to count on one another whether they are working toward deadlines, fulfilling their duties, or feeling comfortable in seeking help if needed.
The basic principles which one must keep in mind when striving to be accountable are: Transparency, participation, evaluation, and feedback. The principle of secrecy has no place in accountability in an organization whether it is government or an NGO (official confidetiality not included) as long as the organization is using public funds to render srrvices to the public. That accountability should be grounded on the pillars of character, unity, learning, tracking, urgency, reputation, and evaluation. These principles are applicable in cases of internal accountability when an individual strives to be true to their values and to fulfill their promises. It is based on this approach that one can create credibility from inside(the heart) that others can trust and respect. These principles are also applicaple in cases of external accountability when one is accountable not to oneself but to others. Trustworthy public servants, especially those who tear up the letters from members of the public and throw them in the waste paper bssket, should be conscious of both internal and external accountability and never trade their morals for favours, positions, power, or authority.
"Everything you do is based on the choices you make. It's not your parents, your past relationships, your jobs, the economy, the weather, an argument or your age that is to blame. You and only you are responsible for every decision and choice you make."
The apostle Paul reminds us about the source of true accountability:
"Oh, the depth of riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and his paths beyond tracing out!"
- Dr. Charles H. Wheatley.