If A Four-Year-Old Can Practice Compassionate Accountability, So Can You
Compassionate Accountability® is about strengthening relationships while getting results without compromising either one.
Compassionate Accountability Starts With Mindset
Compassionate Accountability requires a mindset to view ourselves and others as valuable, capable, and responsible in every interaction, even when we mess up.
Developing our capacity to practice this kind of compassion starts creating a safe space to be vulnerable with each other. In this space, we can name and share our experiences without judging. From here we take the next step, understanding what is going on and figuring out what to do next. By doing this we affirm our capability to be part of the solution. Then comes ownership; taking responsibility for our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Responsibility isn’t about taking over or owning up to things we didn’t do. It’s about being crystal clear about what’s ours to own and what isn’t; no excuses.
This is real emotional intelligence in action.
A Four-Year-Old Can Do It
When I watched this video of a four-year-old processing and owning up to not making a “smart choice,” I was stunned by his emotional intelligence and the level of compassionate accountability in the interaction. Thank you to Mark Weinert for sharing this video during his amazing presentation at the PCM International Conference.
This is how people of any age, in any position, can navigate the most difficult and messy situations by “struggling with” others instead of struggling against them to reinforce a shame-based, adversarial narrative.
Compassionate Accountability Can Be Learned
Obviously, this child has had a lot of support and coaching along the way. His mother is absolutely amazing. Note how she is supportive and affirming but doesn’t let him off the hook. She guides and supports him along the way, but doesn’t do the work for him. Even though there are difficult emotions, and restorative actions that need to take place, she allows him to hold these and experience them authentically.
This four-year-old wasn’t born with this skill, he learned it. If a four year-old can learn and practice compassionate accountability, so can you. And when you learn it, you can coach and mentor others to do it.
Check out this article on the power of Affect Labeling as a de-escalation technique. It’s part of the ORPO method we teach in the Compassion Mindset and Leading Out of Drama frameworks. One of our trainers, Jason Leal, founded a child-care center that teaches children these techniques starting as toddlers.
Imagine the impact on work relationships, morale, self-efficacy, culture, belonging, trust, productivity, and burnout.
I have the best job in the world! I get to help others learn how to practice compassionate accountability and see the results in their lives.