Updated: Oct 18, 2021
Written By: Dana Skelton
Accountability- an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility for one's actions.
Accountability- “It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.”- Moliere
Accountability- “Clear commitments that — in the eyes of others — have been kept.”- Henry Evans
What accountability is NOT:
A skill we either do or do not have
Accountability plays a role in so many areas of our lives:
We are accountable for our actions (at home and on the job)
We work to hold our athletes accountable
We expect the coaches around us to be accountable for their responsibilities
What ways can you think of, that accountability plays a role in your life specifically?
We have these expectations of ourselves and others without realizing, accountability must first be defined and then practiced. Accountability is a skill that can be learned/taught and should play a pivotal role in your culture. We must be willing to be open, vulnerable, and patient as we all learn to hold ourselves and others around us accountable.
If accountability is not fostered, what can we expect…making excuses, playing the victim, blaming others, doing nothing-hoping it will get better, not reaching our goals, mistrust, and so much more.
“When you blame others, you give up your power to change.”- Dr. Robert Anothony
How can we learn to become accountable and hold others accountable?
Start with yourself- When we expect others to be responsible for their actions (or lack of action) we must first role model the behavior in ourselves.
Watch how you react when others try to hold you accountable. If someone comes to you and you yell at them or tell them to mind their own business or roll your eyes or don’t talk to them for a few days, you are letting them know that accountability is NOT something you value. The ability to hold others accountable relies on the ability to trust the other person.
To get started, pick 2 things that are important in your life (areas that require accountability for success). Maybe one from your work life and one from your personal life. Write out the areas you want to work on and make a commitment to be accountable to yourself. Make note of deadlines, get clarity if not offered, and recognize when you followed through on your responsibilities (be proud of yourself).
Create an environment that allows others to feel safe enough to fail as they are learning to be accountable, provides guidance to help them through it, and helps develop trust. If you notice someone is fearful or defensive, find a way to let them know you respect them and want to work on this together.
Create clarity in what is expected- If I asked you to write a practice to help a group with their flip turns, what would you do? You would probably have plenty of follow up questions for me.
What if instead, I asked you to write a practice to help a group of 8-year-olds that have never done a flip turn before. The practice will be in three days and you will have an assistant in the water to help out. You will be responsible for running the practice and making sure the assistant knows their role. The goal of the practice would be to introduce the flip turn, it is ok if they do not get it completely, this will be their first attempt at the flip. That would probably help you write a much better practice.
“Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the results.”- Bob Proctor
Dana is in her 14th season with the First Colony Swim Team. She is the lead coach for Age Group 1, where she gets the privilege to work with the 9- & 10-year-olds. She is also the Head Developmental Coach, working with the awesome coaches in the novice groups. She is an ASCA Level 3 certified coach. Dana started her coaching career with the East Bay Bat Rays in California. This introduction to USA Swimming kick-started her love of coaching, working with young swimmers, and learning what it means to be a great coach. Her coaching philosophy includes doing what is best for each child, parent, and coach in the sport. Focusing on what we can do as a collective whole to promote the sport, help everyone become better people, and have the children see the benefits of working hard. She uses an IM based training (with lots of kick) to ensure the young athletes have a solid base to keep developing through the sport. Dana has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Kinesiology from California State University, East Bay. She enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 daughters. Hobbies include being active, being crafty/creative, exploring the great state of Texas, and seeking out education to continue improving herself (on and off the deck).
FCST rep for Gulf Masters
Texas All Star Camp coaching staff
Southern Zone Select Camp coaching staff
Meet Task Force for Gulf Swimming TPC
Committee Chair for the Texas Select Camp
USA Swimming Age Group Committee Member
Committee Chair for Gulf Club Development Committee