原创: Joshua Freedman

Accountable Communication: Make clear commitments without wiggle room, and you will empower yourself and others.
负责任的交流:不留回旋余地的做出明确的承诺,你就能够给自己和他人赋能。

Can you hold someone accountable? 
Some people talk about accountability as a system for making sure people do what we want them to do. In other words, a way of creating obedience — the person in power shapes behavior through rewards and punishments. In this system, the “boss” sets expectations, and the “inferior” person complies. The boss “holds people accountable” by punishing those who disobey. While the subordinate may follow through, they really on do it out of fear or greed — without the boss and his rewards or punishments, the action would not occur. So, the “inferior” only does the work when he might get caught — this is obedience, not accountability.

你能让别人负责吗?有些人认为责任感是一个机制,能够确保人们按照我们的期望行事。换句话说,它是一个创造服从的方式——当权者通过奖励和惩罚来塑造他人的行为。在这个机制中,“老板”负责设定期望,而“下级”人员负责服从。老板通过惩罚那些不服从的人来“追究责任”。虽然下属可能会完成任务,但他们这么做只是出于恐惧或者贪婪——如果没有老板和他的奖励或惩罚,这种行为就不会发生。所以,“下级”只会在他可能会被抓住的时候才去完成工作——这是服从性,而不是责任感。

So what’s real accountability?
Accountability means accepting responsibility for the outcome of your choices. It means taking ownership of your life — the successes and the failures. Under this definition, I can not make someone else accountable, all I can do is set a context for people to become accountable. If I take responsibility for someone else’s life, I actually take away his accountability.

那么,什么才是真正的责任感呢?责任感意味着愿意为自己的选择所产生的结果负责。它意味着自主掌控自己的生活——无论是成功还是失败。根据这一定义,我不能让他人为我负责,我只能设置一个环境,让他人成为对自己负责的人。如果我为别人的生活负责,那我就剥夺了他的责任感。

Are You In the Driver’s Seat?
你是在自主驾驶吗?

If accountability means “owning my results” (another way of saying, “accepting responsibility for the outcomes of my choices”) then what’s the opposite? Non-accountability means giving up ownership, or even forcing others to take ownership of my results. It means being a victim. Think of a non-accountable person in a workplace — can you see how they evade responsibility for failures AND for successes? They’re along for the ride. So the question of accountability is simple: Do you want to ride along in your life, or drive?

如果责任感意味着“掌控我自己的行为”(“愿意为自己的选择所产生的结果负责”的另一种说法),那相反的情况是什么呢?没有责任感意味着放弃掌控权,甚至是强迫他人掌控我的行为。这意味着让自己成为一名受害者。想想一个在职场中缺乏责任感的人——你能看到他们是如何逃避对失败和成功的责任的吗?他们只是在搭乘“顺风车”。所以确定是否拥有责任感很简单:你想在生活中搭乘顺风车还是自主驾驶?

If I am not choosing to be accountable, what am I choosing? If I “ride along,” am I part of the problem instead of part of the solution? Am I a “slacker?” A “taker?” A “victim?” Sometimes I am all of these. Sometimes I choose to take a break from the hard work of actually leading my life. Ironically I’m most likely to do that at home — in the place I care most about modeling my best self. One reason it’s easy for me to be less accountable at home is that my wife is so strong, capable, and nurturing. I know she’ll forgive me, and I take advantage of that by doing less than my best. It’s awfully seductive sometimes to stay in that passive, non-accountable role.

如果我不选择对自己负责,那我选择的是什么呢?如果我“搭乘顺风车”,那我是在创造问题还是在解决问题呢?我是一个“懒鬼”?一个“索取者”?还是“受害者”?有时,我都是。有时,我会选择从主导自己生活的艰苦工作中逃离,去休息一下。讽刺的是,我最有可能会在家里这么做——在我最想要成为自己最好样子的地方。我在家里会容易不太负责的一个原因是,我的妻子太强大、有能力和太贴心了。我知道她会原谅我的,所以我便利用这一点,做得不那么好。有时候,保持被动、不负责任的状态是件非常诱人的事。

When I was teaching, it was a constant struggle to increase accountability for some students. Some kids consistently failed to do their best work, and I told them I was not satisfied with that performance. At the same time, I know that sometimes I read student homework thoroughly, and sometimes I barely looked at it. The result was that I was creating a context of inconsistent accountability — not only was I modeling poorly, I was making the choice to leave “wiggle room” or ambiguity. I can see now that if I wanted my students to be more accountable, I had to be more accountable.

在我教书的时候,常常要为提升一些学生的责任感而努力。有些孩子总是不能做到最好,我便告诉他们,我对他们的表现很不满意。同时我也知道,有时我会认真地批改学生的作业,也有时会看都不看。这样做的结果是我在责任感方面树立了一个言行不一的榜样——我不仅没有很好地以身作则,而且还有意选择留下一定的“回旋余地”。我现在明白了,如果我想让我的学生更加负责,那我自己必须更加负责。

In my work with managers, teachers, and parents, I see this dynamic over and over. We want people to behave a certain way, and we confuse obedience and accountability. Real accountability takes a great deal of effort, so we attempt to mandate it, and the results are mediocre. When it’s something people “should do,” those who don’t like accountability dig in their heels and resist — the more it’s a “have to,” the more they resist! On the other hand, if the resistors can see that accountable people have more inner power, learning, joy, and fulfillment, perhaps they’ll be more likely to join?

我在工作中接触了许多不同的经理人、教师和家长,我一次又一次地看到这种情况在上演。我们会希望他人以某种方式行事,会混淆服从和责任感。真正的责任感需要付出很大的努力,于是我们便试图委托他人替我们负责,而产生的结果通常都不太好。当人们“应该去做”一件事时,那些不喜欢责任感的人就会坚决抵制——越是“必须”要做的,他们就越要反抗!而如果反抗者可以看到负责任的人会获得更多的内在力量、学习、喜悦和满足,也许他们会更乐于参与?

If we want better results, we become doubly accountable. We find the loopholes and “wiggle room” we’re leaving, and do the hard work to close those gaps. Then we do the even harder work of following through on every single promise that we make. Against that backdrop, others’ lack of accountability becomes vivid and uncomfortable, and they develop an inner motivation to grow.

如果我们想要获得更好的结果,我们就会变得加倍负责。我们会发现我们留下的漏洞和“回旋余地”,并努力填补这些空隙。然后,我们会更加努力地遵守我们做出的每一个承诺。在这种背景下,其他人缺乏责任感的行为就会变得明显和令人不适,于是他们会发展出内在的成长动力。

Why We Block Accountability
为什么我们会拒绝责任感

Wiggle room is the gray area we leave when we don’t say what we really mean because we are not committed to total clarity. In my own interactions, I leave wiggle room for a variety of reasons. If I take out the wiggle room — and use accountable communication — I have to make stronger commitments. There are some significant costs to getting to that level of clarity:

“回旋余地”是当我们不去表达自己真实想法时留出来的灰色区域,因为我们不想彻底表达清楚。在我与他人交流时,我会出于许多不同的原因而留下“回旋余地”。如果我不留回旋的余地,去负责任地与人交流,那我就必须更加用心地投入。而获得这种程度的清晰表达需要付出一定的代价:

  • Clarity takes time: In the rush of day-to-day life, who has time to slow down and be specific?
  • 清晰表达会占用时间:在繁忙的日常生活中,谁有时间去放慢节奏、详细地交流呢?
  • Clarity might mean more work: For example, perhaps Patty, my wife, is asking me to help get ready for a party. I suspect she wants a lot of work from me, so I evade a specific commitment — I don’t say exactly what I will do, by when; instead I work a bit then hide for awhile. In consultant-speak, I have not committed to specific deliverables.
  • 清晰表达可能会意味着更多的投入:例如,如果我的妻子帕蒂让我帮忙准备一场派对,我会怀疑她想让我去做很多工作,于是我便逃避明确做出承诺——我不会明确表达我会做什么、什么时间完成,而是会做一点儿然后躲一阵儿。用咨询师的专业说法来讲,我没有承诺去完成具体的可交付成果。
  • Clarity can mean loss of face: If I make a specific commitment and don’t follow through, it will be evident that I failed.
  • 清晰表达可能会让人丢面子:如果我做出具体的承诺最后却没有遵守约定,那显然我是失败的。
  • Seeking clarity can imply a lack of trust: When you ask questions about “what exactly am I committing to?” and “What if it doesn’t go as planned?” people begin to call you “lawyer-ish.” They might even say, “It will just work out, don’t you trust me?”
  • 追求清晰表达可能会暗示你对他人缺乏信任:当你提出“我具体需要做些什么?”和“要是一切没有按计划进行该怎么办?”等问题时,别人会觉得你像律师一样想得太多。他们甚至可能会说:“不会有问题的。难道你不信任我吗?
  • Asking for specific commitment appears aggressive: Especially for people conditioned to “be nice,” it can be extremely uncomfortable to push someone to make a clear commitment.
  • 要求他人做出具体的承诺会显得咄咄逼人:尤其是对那些习惯于“和善待人”的人,迫使他人做出明确的承诺会让他们感到极其不适。
  • An ambiguous agreement might lead to a “better deal”: If we pin one another down to specifics, there’s no way I am going to get more that I’ve asked for, but if it’s open, I could be pleasantly surprised.
  • 模棱两可的赞同可能会促成“更好的结果”:如果我们都相互将细节明确,那我就不可能获得超出我要求之外的东西;而如果是开放性的对话,我就有可能获得意料之外的惊喜。

Given all these problems with creating accountability, why would I do it? Just reading my own list I’m feeling threatened by the apparent conflict in this accountable communication! First, it’s important to see that many of those potential negatives are simply assumptions. For all I know, the other person could welcome accountable communication as a breath of fresh air! The certain negatives of non-accountability should have more weight than the potential negatives of my assumptions. More importantly, by practicing accountable communication I will empower myself and empower others.

既然责任感会带来以上这些问题,那我为什么还要去做呢?光是阅读我自己列出来的这些问题,我都感到这种负责任的交流所存在的明显冲突会给我带来威胁!首先,我们需要明白,这些潜在的负面影响中有许多都只是假设。据我所知,对方可能会很欢迎你与他们进行负责任的沟通!不负责任的潜在负面影响应该会比我假设的潜在负面影响更加严重。更重要的是,通过练习与人进行负责任的沟通,我将能够给自己和他人带来能量。

How To Increase Accountability
如何提升责任感

So, assuming you see that the benefits outweigh the costs, here are four “checkpoints” to watch in creating accountable communication:
所以,假设你明白负责的收益大于代价,那么下面四个问题可以帮助你审视你是否在负责任地与人交流:

Am I hiding? (Don’t miss the chance!)
我在逃避吗?(不要错失机会!)

Am I hedging? (Don’t “try”!)
我在模棱两可吗?(不要“试一试”!)

Am I “making it ok“? (Don’t “rescue”!)
我在“算了吧”吗?(不要“拯救”他人!)

Am I supporting learning? (Don’t over-simplify!)
我在支持学习吗?(不要把问题过于简单化!)

“Am I hiding?” is a reminder to push yourself and others to identify the specific details of the commitment — often called “rules of engagement,” “deliverables,” or “conditions of satisfaction.” In practice, this might sound like, “I am not 100% clear on what you want me to agree to — let’s talk through the specifics.” Or, “Let me repeat back what I hear you asking.” The words you use are not so important as your intention to be clear. Sometimes people will be rude or tactless in the name of clarity, “I’m just being direct,” they’ll say to themselves. Most often, this kind of behavior is just another way of hiding. Some people hide from clarity through shyness, some people hide through roughness, neither works. True clarity is vivid and calm — like a cool wind on a hot day, like a silver bell ringing in the gloaming, like a child’s kiss on your cheek. When you experience it, you know. If you choose to stop hiding, you will experience clarity more often.

“我在逃避吗?”会提醒你去要求自己和他人明确承诺的具体细节——通常被称为“参与规则”、“可交付成果”或者“满意条件”。例如:“我不是完全清楚你想让我同意的是什么——我们来细化一下吧。”或者“请让我复述一下你的意思。”你的说法并不重要,重要的是明确你的意图。有时候,人们会以清晰表达的名义粗鲁无礼地对待他人;“我只是说话直接而已”,他们会这样对自己说。大多数情况下,这种行为只是另一种逃避的方式。有些人会通过羞怯来逃避自我表达,有些人则会通过粗暴,但这两种方法都不管用。真正的清晰表达是生动而冷静的——就像炎热日子里的一阵凉风,像银铃在暮色中响起,像孩子在你脸颊上留下一个吻。当你经历过了,你就自然会明白。如果你选择不再逃避,你就会更加经常地体会到清晰表达自我的感受。

“Am I hedging?” asks you to either make a commitment or not — there is not middle ground to clear commitment. If you are not ready to commit, say, “Right now, my answer is no,” or “I will think about it,” or “I’d like to discuss this again in 24 hours.” Most people say, “I’ll try,” when they mean, “No, but I don’t want to let you down,” or “This is a low priority for me.” If you say, “I’ll try,” it leaves wiggle room a mile wide. If you intend to leave wiggle room, then saying, “I’ll try” is effective. You just have to be careful because it’s totally ambiguous; you might mean, “I’m going to commit in a moment,” or you might mean, “Not in a hundred years!” — how are other people going to know? They’ll make assumptions about what you mean by, “try,” you’ll make assumptions about what they heard, and you will have a muddle.

“我在模棱两可吗?”要求你要么做出承诺要么拒绝——不存在中间地带。如果你还没有准备好去做出承诺,那就回答:“此刻我的回答是否定的”或者“我会考虑的”或者“我希望24小时之内再答复你。”大多数人会说:“我会试一试”,而他们其实想的是:“不行,但我不想让你失望”或者“这不会是我的优先选择”。如果你回答:“我会试一试”,那你就留下了一英里宽的回旋余地。如果你打算留下回旋的余地,那回答“我会试一试”是可行的。但你需要特别小心,因为这样的表达是完全模棱两可的;你的意思可能是:“我稍后就会做出承诺”;或者你其实是想说:“永远也不可能!”——但其他人怎么会知道你是怎么想的呢?他们会猜测你所说的“试一试”是什么意思,你也会猜测他们是如何理解你的回答的,这样你们就都会很困惑。

“Am I ‘making it ok’ ?” If you are “making it ok” when someone fails in their commitment, you are reducing accountability. If that’s what you intend to do, perhaps because you know they’re just learning, or having a difficult time, then “making it ok” is fine. Otherwise, tell them you are not satisfied and you ask for redress. When they give an excuse, you empathically listen and kindly, firmly negotiate a new agreement. This is a foreign language to many people, it seems uncomfortable and “not nice” to confront someone with their failure to follow through. On the other hand, is it “nice,” to let someone break their word to you and then lie about your real feelings about that? Discomfort is not bad!

“我在‘算了吧’吗?”如果你在别人违反自己的承诺时“算了吧”,你就是在降低他们的责任感。如果你是有意为之,因为你知道他们还在学习的阶段,或者他们最近不太顺利,那么“算了吧”没有问题。否则,你应该告诉他们你的不满并且要求他们进行改正。当他们给出借口时,带着同理心去倾听并善意且坚定地协商出一个新的约定。这对许多人来说很陌生,质问他人违反承诺的行为似乎会让人感到不适并且“不太好”。可换个角度来说,让别人对你食言,你还要隐藏自己的真实感受就“好”吗?不适并不完全是件坏事!

Discomfort and remorse are important teachers, and when you take those away from people because you don’t like “making them uncomfortable,” you take away their learning. At the same time, remember that people don’t learn under threat — so you have to carefully watch how much you push people. The balance is the point of the last checkpoint.

不适和懊悔是重要的老师,当你因为不想“让他们感到不适”而剥夺他们的这两种感受时,你也剥夺了他们学习的机会。同时,记住,人们在受到威胁时是无法去学习的——所以你必须特别留意你给他人施加的压力大小。平衡的标准是最后一个问题。

“Am I supporting learning?” is an essential reminder about the real purpose of accountability — growing. And forgiveness is an essential nutrient for growth. Every moment, we each have the chance to practice our skills and get better — the goal is to be conscious and intentional, not to be perfect. I make mistakes, you make mistakes, and others do to. Life is complicated, events occur that we could not predict, and caring people shift their priorities to meet the changing landscape. Sometimes you consciously need to leave wiggle room so people can save face, sometimes you conscious break one of the other three rules. The point is to do this intentionally rather than habitually. You can choose to be clear and accountable as well as flexible, generous, and caring! Just keep practicing.

“我在支持学习吗?”是一个很重要的问题,它会提醒你负责的真正目的是获得成长。而宽恕是成长所必需的一剂营养素。我们每时每刻都有机会去练习我们的技能、让自己变得更好——我们的目标是变得有意识和有意图,而不是做到尽善尽美。我会犯错,你也会犯错,其他人都会犯错。生活是复杂的,我们无法预测会发生什么,而关心他人的人会改变自己的生活重心,以满足不断变化的环境。有时,你需要有意留下一些回旋的余地,以便别人可以保住面子;也有时,你需要有意打破其他三条规则中的某一条。重要的是,你需要有意图地去这么做,而不仅仅是出于习惯。你可以选择清楚、负责地表达自己,做到灵活、慷慨和关心他人!只要继续练习就好。

The Bottom Line: Learning
底线:学习

If you support your own learning, and support others to keep learning, you will automatically increase this deep, meaningful inner accountability. Instead of motivating by punishment, motivate by curiosity. Motivate yourself and others by inspiring commitment to something worth learning, worth learning to do with 100% of your capacity and greatness. This kind of accountability will increase joy, commitment, fun, personal power, and it’s infectious! As you practice internal accountability and clear communication, you become an inspiration to others to do the same, and together you create the best possible results.

如果你希望自己去学习,也愿意支持他人不断学习,那你就会自动提升这种深层次、有意义的内在责任感。不要通过惩罚去激励他人,而是去激发他们的好奇心。激励自己和他人对值得学习的事物——值得用你100%的能力和毅力去学习的东西——做出承诺。这种责任感会增加喜悦、奉献、乐趣和个人能力,而且它极具感染性!随着你不断练习运用内在责任感和清晰地表达自己,你就会激励他人去效仿你的行为,从而与你共同创造最好的结果。

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