One of the most common complaints that women have of men is their lack of follow through and shirking of responsibility. Yes, they go to work, bring home a paycheck, or more rarely take on roles of caregiver to young children but in other arenas they can miss the mark.
By being accountable: That is doing what you are saying you are going to do you are behaving in ways that create trust in your relationship. So, what is it that gets in the way of that accountability?
First, there is a persistent pattern that includes defending the ego and not wanting to be “wrong.” Or to put it more accurately, a desire to be “right” at all costs. And that cost is the loss of closeness and connection to your partner. It is far to common for men to reply to a question about follow through with a defensive response. As if the request for clarification or more information is an attack on their character.
If that response to questions is happening that man, or men need to take a step back. Call a time out with your partner, tell them when you will be back (so as not to activate abandonment issues) and go for a walk, a run, a talk with a trusted friend and then come back.
A big step toward being the accountable man you want to be is to take ownership of yourself and your feelings. Own up and say, “I got activated (angry)when you started asking questions. I got defensive when you asked why I did what I did.” By owning those feelings and actions you are being more the man they want and need.
It will require being vulnerable and saying the less flattering but make you more human. It will advance your relationship many miles. It is that vulnerable revealing of yourself that is a hallmark of a good leader. And in fact, that is what is desired and needed. They may be asking those questions because there has been a lacking in accountability. You are cultivating more trust be being open.
The greatest kind of leadership is the one that lacks ego and strives for the greatest good for all involved. That ability to step forward and own mistakes, speak regrets, offer apologies and then make plans for how to handle things differently in the future will help your relationships be success stories.
I recall in my graduate program hearing one of the leaders, who coached high level executives say, “Show me a leader who can say, “I don’t know,” that is a leader I can help become better. By hiding vulnerability and saying and believing “I have all the answers” is a way to stay aloof, unhelpful and fail their organization and all their relationships.
Taking accountability and owning mistakes and faults will go a long way in building the trusting relationships men desire.
It is useful for men to explore their family of origin story to see where the roots are of that sense of feeling criticized and not mattering comes from. And to then to gain the skills to separate out the old story and see your partner not as the critical parent that lives in your head but the person you love in the here and now.
With help you want to be is very different from the man who feels the need to be unquestioned. The age of the undisputed King has ended in our world. The new age of the collaborate and open leader has just begun. You can be on that cutting edge.