While taking a course in Crucial Accountability, I realized how much easier my life would have been if I had been taught this skill at a younger age. Learning the skill to successfully hold others accountable when faced with a broken promise has had significant positive impacts on both my personal and professional life. After speaking with the Head of School and adapting the formal steps to learning Crucial Accountability to match the developmental level of the students in my care, I began modelling this skill for the children, while holding them accountable. We have regular discussions about accountability as a skill since situations of social conflict do arise in the after-school program. I practice it with the students whenever possible and encourage them to try to follow the steps independently.


This skill is already being practiced in the classrooms at North Star everyday. It seemed a natural progression to ensure consistency in the After-School program, too. I wanted to share this clearly defined outline I created with parents to help further support this effective practice and life-skill into the home-life of the students, as well.


When someone has…

Broken a promise or Done something you think is wrong


Before You Talk

  1. If you are angry wait until you are calm.
  2. Ask yourself what it is you want to talk about?


Reasons To Talk                 

*I want to have a strong friendship.

*I want to help.

*I want to find the truth.

* I want to feel Safe.


Reasons To Think Again Before We Talk

*I want to win.

*I want to blame someone.

*I want to punish someone.


During The Conversation

  1. Ask the person if it is a good time to talk?

It Is Time To Wait And Give The Person Some Space when…

*They say not right now.

*The person looks very angry.


When You Talk

  1. Be aware of your body language and tone.

* To be able to successfully hold the other person accountable you need to use respectful language.

*You need to be calm and kind.


  1. Tell the person your intention. This could sound like…

* I want us to be good friends, so I want to talk to you about this.

*I am not blaming you, I just want to understand what is happening.

*I am your friend and I would like to help.


  1. Talk about what you saw happen

What not to talk about

* What you think the person’s intentions are.

* What you think happened


  1. Ask your friend what you can do to help so that such problems do not happen again.
  • Listen to your friend without interrupting them.
  • Try to put yourself in that person’s shoes when listening.
  1. Decide what each one of you will commit to doing next time.


After The Conversation

  • Touch base to see how things are going
  • If the person is still repeating the same pattern, describe the gap and talk about natural consequences they might not be aware of.


Patterson, K., Grenny, J., Maxfield, D., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2013). Crucial accountability: Tools for resolving violated expectations, broken commitments, and bad behavior (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education.