Please Don’t Hold Me Accountable

Last night driving home from our facilitator gathering, three of us – our driver, my co-host and I – debriefed the meeting.  You might recall from my last post that we used the metaphor of weaving a carpet to engage our colleagues creatively and kinesthetically, in reflection and conversation, about what they hope to create in their practices, and collectively what we hope to weave together as a community.  It was a great evening.

As a group we are making explicit the assumptions and values that create for a safe space to learn and develop as practitioners.  Someone mentioned “holding each other accountable.”

Ouch.  That hit a nerve.  How many times I’ve heard leaders say they have a responsibility to hold their staff accountable to outcomes; teachers to hold students accountable to their achievement goals; parents to hold children accountable to them because “they say so”; husbands and wives, lovers and partners to hold each other accountable to vows taken.   

And depending on the context, I hear this phrase, “hold accountable,” passing as the new “power and control over” those deep down inside we deem untrustable, unreliable, unmotivated, uncaring, uncommitted…unaccountable.  And it’s our job to hold them accountable. 

Hmmmm.  When I feel that I am being held, unless from a truly caring, tender, loving and trusting place, I resist, and literally or figuratively squirm, push, run away.

So please don’t hold me accountable. 

Instead, let’s create a space from which I am helped to hold myself accountable to my commitments and promises, to bring and be my best to you, for the world. 

That is something I promise you can count on from me. 

That is a world I’ll weave together with you.

About Katharine Weinmann

living and leading with courage, clarity, compassion and creativity
This entry was posted in Community, Facilitation, Leadership and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Please Don’t Hold Me Accountable

  1. Kathy T says:

    I still remember what you said about another way to frame that. Instead of someone else holding me accountable for something, a more human way to engage in a respectful conversation is to ask: What can I count on you for? and letting the other person offer what they feel they can give. Rather than saying I am holding you accountable for this. I know I can count on you for thought-provoking reflections on life, learning and leadership:)

  2. I am a fellow squirmer. What a drag it is to be given artificial ways of tracking and measuring our work. How sad it is to need numbers to validate our instincts and phenomenological knowing. Squirm. Squirm. Squirm.

    “Results based” is another of those phrases that leave me looking for an escape. If I teach as an artist creates, then “results based” makes my brush still.

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