Following an emotional post like yesterday’s is always a tough thing to do — in a way, I feel drained and at a loss on what to talk about. Fortunately, work provided me with a thought starter. Every so often, they offer leadership training webinars on various topics. Today, the topic was on “accountability.”
ac•count•a•bil•i•ty (əˌkaʊn təˈbɪl ɪ ti) n.
1. the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable.
ac·count·a·ble (-kount-bl) adj.
1. Liable to being called to account; answerable.
“Liable”, “Answerable” – certainly not things that the “Myth” of M/s would tell you are true – didn’t you know that Masters are accountable to no one?! (insert snarky chuckle here) Knowing the people who read this blog and that I know, you are already nodding your heads at the snark, because you probably do hold yourself accountable. But here’s the crux… is that really accountability? Who else holds you accountable? Does your slave? How? Does your community or family? How?
Ah, maybe I got your attention with that one? “Huffpuff, my slave doesn’t hold me accountable! Why, I hold them accountable! rabblerabblerabble!“
Well, yes, they do. Maybe not in the way that we think, but slaves, families/houses, communities all hold us accountable. The people around us look to our word, our actions to see if they match, if they reflect our core values and if we are walking the talk. The question is if there is a safe and established way that communication can go up the chain of command, within your relationship – and do other people feel that they can talk to you, do they know how/where you stand and do they know what you’re holding them accountable for?
That is what being accountable and holding someone accountable is about – being answerable and liable for your promises, your commitments, your actions and the results of those actions. It’s a word that I believe isn’t used enough, except as a weapon against others. Personal accountability and responsibility is something that we say we strive for, it’s even linked into a lot of people’s definitions of what “Leather” is. It’s worth giving some thought to, I believe, in how we define it for/to ourselves and to our relationships – both M/s and community. I believe it is a value that is present in successful M/s (and D/s) relationships.
So, how does one do accountability? I had never thought of how to define this before, but the training webinar gave me four steps that I’d have to agree with:
- Clear Expectations – setting clear goals – either for yourself or for others. For examples on setting clear goals, the SMART criteria is a good place to start.
- Be Specific – about dates and timelines, about priorities and realistic expectations.
- Assign Ownership – one owner per task – you might set the destination, but unless you want to be a Garmin to your slave, or you have very specific, rigid criteria that have to be followed, let your slave own the task. Otherwise, you’re taking ownership (by micromanaging).
- Share Accountability – If you’re the Master, hold yourself accountable first. Let people know what you’re holding yourself accountable for, slave and family or club. Encourage them to hold you accountable (within your protocol or how it best works for you.)
Each one of those points is a topic in itself, but I think the high level view here is enough to share how I view accountability.
In writing this post, I posed three questions to angie that are going to be the topic of discussion some point soon. These are questions I’d encourage any Master/slave (or D/s) couple to pose to each other:
- Do you think I hold myself accountable?
- How do I hold you accountable?
- How do you hold me accountable?
Share your thoughts with us, please. What do you think about accountability and how it’s done in your relationship?
(Definitions Copyright – The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. (2003). Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary. (2010). Retrieved September 11 2014 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/accountability)