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  • Foto del escritorJuanpablo Barrantes

About accountability

By Juanpablo Barrantes Leader’s approach (5 min read) “A great power always leads to a great responsibility”— Peter Parker’s stepfather. Do you remember this phrase? Probably yes, if you are fan of Spiderman movies... But in case you don’t, let me explain and expand on this remarkable scene of Spiderman 1 movie. Peter Parker finds out his father has been deadly shot by the guy he just let go the day before when this guy took the money from the boxing manager that refused to pay Peter after wining his debut and first fight, in a seedy boxing ring. Emotionally shattered, Peter begs for forgiveness to his father. His father, broken and in agony, tells Peter that he forgives him, and takes him by the hand while saying: —remember that a great power always leads to a great responsibility—. Shaken and invaded by a feeling of guilt, Peter understood from that very day the immense responsibility he assumed because of his super power, and also the role of fighting evil and fight for justice, to honor his stepfather’s tragic death under his responsibility... I love this story because it’s simple but so wise and profound, and it makes me think and reframe this story to the role of great leaders and why they outshine others, especially mediocre leaders. And that’s precisely because a great leader always strive for service others instead of being served by others; a great leader has the highest sense of responsibility whenever he or she assumes full accountability not only for any of his or her faults, but also for any of his or her team’s faults. A great leader has the highest sense of vision to see the whole picture and look for long term success, but also to see those subtle details that really make a difference when striving for success. So it seems to me it’s a matter of realizing (and internalizing) that, whenever you gain power over others, you become responsible for the fate of any of them. When that happens and you genuinely assume such responsibility, success and prosperity will eventually happen too. It’s a natural law, an immovable principle. On the other hand, when power is not assumed with responsibility, it’s as obvious as inevitable that the outcome is fail and misfortune... Remember, this is an immovable principle! Let me finish my insights on accountability with another wise and profound story I heard from Simon Sinek, it’s about the consequences of not being accountable in one’s responsibilities. ”Sometimes you are the problem. In the eighteenth century there was something that spread across medical groups in Europe called “the puerperal fever”, also known as the black death of child birth. Basically what was happening, women were giving birth and they would die within 48 hours after giving birth. This black death of child birth was the rubbish of Europe, and it got worst and worst over the course of decades in that century. In some hospitals it was as high as seventy percent of women who gave birth who would die as a result of giving birth. But this was “the Renaissance”, this was the time of empirical data in science, and they have thrown away things like tradition and mysticism, these were “men of science”, these were “doctors”, and these doctors and men of science wanted to study and find the reason for the black death of child birth and they studied the corpses of the women who have died, and in the morning they would conduct autopsies and then in the afternoon they would go and deliver babies and finished their rounds. And it wasn’t until something on the mid eighteenth hundreds that Doctor Oliver Wendell Holmes –father of Supreme Court of Justice, who realized that all of these doctors conducting autopsies in the morning, weren’t washing their hands before they delivered babies in the afternoon! And he pointed it out and said: -guys, you are the problem! And they ignored him and called him crazy, for thirty years… Until finally somebody realized that if they simply washed their hands it will go away. And that’s exactly what happened, when they started sterilizing their instruments and washing their hands, the black death of child birth disappeared… The lesson here is: sometimes, you are the problem. We’ve seen this happening all too recently on these men of science and despite men of finance and politics, who are smarter than the rest of us… until the things collapsed! And they blamed everything else, except themselves… And my point is: Take accountability for your actions! You can take all the credit in the world for the things you do right, AS LONG AS YOU TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE THINGS YOU DO WRONG… It must be a balanced equation! You don’t get it one way and not the other, you got to take credit when you also take full accountability of your actions... and the actions of those under your responsibility.“

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