These may be the four hardest words to say in the English language. I would be curious how they are worded in other languages. A mea culpa, which is means my great fault, makes it sound nicer, but actually increases the burden. We are human. We screw up. To be accountable is to say “mea culpa” or “it is my fault.”
When I have said these four words, it gets an unusual reaction. It is my fault. One place I worked, after I said it to someone, he asked “Are you going to admit that ?”
“Yes, I screwed up,” I responded. “But, I will fix it.” This knocked him for a loop. Apparently, in his view it was the kiss of death to say mea culpa in the organization. His confusion was so obvious it left a lasting impression.
One reason for admitting fault can be traced to playing sports. When you screw up, everyone can see it. Plus, you let your teammates down. In the heat of the action, the four words are often shortened to two – my bad. The key is to make up for your mistake. It is not uncommon for a chance at redemption to come by soon.
Another reason is being in a relationship. Trust me, you will screw up, especially if you are a guy. Not to generalize, but women tend to be more in tune with interactions, where we guys tend to be less subtle in our communications. So, when you screw up, be accountable. If you have dug yourself a hole, stop digging. It is my fault.
Accountability. I have screwed up many times and will again. Yet, I must be accountable for my mistakes. I read once that when mistakes have been made that end up in the tragic loss of life, the families left behind need some solace. They actually appreciate greatly a sincere apology. This does not erase the pain, but acknowledgement of the mistake helps.
So, let’s be accountable to each other. Let’s demand this from our leaders.