Building Trust Through Ownership and Accountability


I took on the position as the President of our men’s club at my local congregation. I did not really give it much thought as I assumed the role. I had ambitious ideas on what I wanted us to accomplish, but no understanding of how to get us there. I jumped into the deep end of the pool and soon found out how difficult it is for four people to meet together at one time and at one place for a board meeting. I heard all of the excuses and gave some myself. These are busy times; jobs come first, family obligations, etc. After all, we are just volunteers, not getting paid.

Leadership often comes to those who don’t want it. I feel that I am a natural leader, but have been running away from it for years. I finally faced my fears and took on this role. Accountability only comes from the presence of trust and the absence of fear. This I know: you cannot take on responsibility without accountability. They go hand in hand and you cannot have one without the other.

Sadly, I wasted a lot of time and have not accomplished anything on my ambitious “To Do” list. So now I realize my role is simply to put the organization together and running efficiently for the next president to come. It will take some time for people to feel that we are a legitimate club again, so I will now stand up and take my lumps for what did or did not happen over the last year under my watch.

Here is my plan:

Step one:  Say what I mean and do what I say. Share my vision with the members, define goals and expectations. Everyone needs to understand exactly what is expected of them.

Step two:  Delegate, delegate, delegate! Let people step up and take ownership of their roles. Appoint roles to those who I can trust. The more people are involved, the less fear and uncertainty there will be.

Step three:  Lead by example. No more denial, excuses, or blame. Be accountable and hold others accountable. (Yes, this is volunteer work, but you have committed to do it.)

Wash, Rinse, and Repeat: Trust can only be earned through time and repetition. The more times I can say I’ll do something and come through on it, the more I can deposit into the “Trust Bank.” I got past my fear (trust in myself) and am now enjoying the relationships that are being formed.

Whether we are the president of a men’s club, or the President of the United States, our actions do have consequences. Each of us must face this and take ownership and accountability of how we live. Only by doing so can we rebuild the trust in this country again.

Clifford Buckley – Gould Design Inc.