Most people use these two words interchangeably, do you?
I did a quick search and received the following results:
Accountability: (noun) the fact or condition of being accountable; responsibility
Responsibility: (noun) the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone
It is interesting that the definition for accountability includes responsibility; that is, I believe, one of the fundamental challenges with understanding the two are different.
I used to use them interchangeably. However, as I have continued my Life Coaching Journey, and my journey with The Responsibility Process, my views have changed.
In my practice today, I view accountability as how one is expected to perform. It has to do with how one keeps agreements, manages expectations; accountability tends to focus on others and in the past.
Responsibility, on the other hand, is focused internally on oneself and concerns the present. It is a feeling of ownership. Broken down, it means the “ability to respond”.
Think about that for a second – if it is a Feeling, I can control it (remember, Thoughts control our Feelings). And, if I have Feel responsibility for something, those Actions I take will demonstrate that Feeling. Finally, if I CHOOSE to take responsibility, there is very little chance someone else will need to hold me accountable (here, other’s expectations of me). Imagine that power!
What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below.