Accountability is essential in both personal and professional relationships — it can help you succeed in ways you never thought possible.
But what does accountability mean, and why is it so crucial?
Here are reasons why accountability is so important, according to experts:
Tony Davis, Esq.
Family Attorney | Marriage & Relationship Coach | Co-founder, Empower to Engage
To be accountable or not to be accountable is a fundamental question. If you believe you should be accountable, the very nature of the word requires that you have a functional and active involvement with at least one other person.
Being involved with others and ultimately accountable to others affords us benefits that may not be obvious when we ponder the concept. It goes beyond the traditional notions of being responsible and keeping our word.
Being accountable is necessary for our quest for more information, a new skill, additional resources, or great opportunities. These are reasons that demonstrate why accountability is important. However, let’s take it a step further.
Your perspective, motivation, and your desired outcome will determine the effectiveness of choosing to be accountable to someone whom you believe can help you grow and succeed.
If you are unsure if you should be accountable to someone, I want to give you a few other attributes to consider that explain more abstractly why accountability is essential.
Accountability increases your competence
While knowledge on its own is good, sometimes it’s hard to translate knowledge to actionable outcomes.
When you take time to discuss what you’ve learned with someone more knowledgeable or skilled in a particular area, you gain a better understanding and may grasp concepts better.
This will increase your ability to perform
The key is to put yourself in a position to receive thoughtful critiques and opinions when sharing learned information with those you are accountable. You will have a greater awareness of how to process and perform those tasks, resulting in increased competence.
From a relationship standpoint, it’s good for couples to be accountable to other couples who can challenge wrong choices, selfish endeavors, and emotional immaturity.
When you discuss your marital spats and dilemmas with those who can offer sound guidance, you give yourself a better chance at becoming a better spouse, a more loving friend, and a kinder family member.
From a business perspective, it’s beneficial to be accountable to someone with more expertise than you in the overall areas of business, legal, insurance, finance, and taxes.
The adage “sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know” is true. Being accountable to people with various degrees of expertise and experience will increase your competence and, at the same time, limit the mistakes you will make.
Accountability enhances your diligence
Sometimes, we will “take the path of least resistance” when asked to do something. We can put the task off and say we will do it tomorrow. We may do something and evaluate it as “good enough.”
Or sometimes, the time we take to perform a task may fall below the standard of the prompt if we are left to ourselves. However, accountability enhances our diligence.
Think about it, if there are set times to meet up or assignments and projects you’ve scheduled with agreed-upon completion dates, you learn to be more mindful about time management.
This happens because you want to fulfill your part in the accountability relationship when you know you need to report on your progress with the things entrusted to you.
Being accountable fosters a desire to always try your best
You want to show the person who has committed themselves to your process that you are willing to fully engage by doing your part.
Or, if you are the more experienced person, being accountable also makes you more inclined to ensure that you are always providing your best to those who may be seeking your expertise or the benefit of your greater experience.
It is imperative that you often communicate clearly and manage expectations. It’s easier to be productive when you are diligent and take responsibility for accountability seriously.
Accountability promotes wise decision-making
One result of being accountable is that your decision-making skills will improve. As your competence increases and you become more diligent, you will ultimately make better decisions relating to yourself and those who rely on you.
While we make many subconscious decisions throughout the day, being accountable to others forces us to be intentional in our efforts for positive interactions.
This will benefit you and demonstrate to those you are accountable that you take the accountability relationship seriously.
Being accountable encourages human interaction
Your increased positive decision-making will eventually become your new normal. Being accountable encourages human interaction; therefore, your interpersonal relationship skills will improve.
As your interpersonal skills grow, you will have more to offer to someone who may be seeking your assistance.
Being accountable constantly keeps you mindful of others
Ultimately, you will make better decisions in every area of your life. Being accountable constantly keeps you mindful of others. It has the positive effect of creating a desire within you to be an asset, a giver, and a helper in some way within your circle of influence.
Related: 7 Ways to Live a Mindful Life
Being accountable at some point in our lives is an essential piece of the success puzzle. Being accountable to ourselves first and then to others can set us up for constructive relational experiences, something we should all want more of.
Remember: Two heads are always better than one, and major decisions should be made by a multitude of counselors.
Because it builds trust, repairs relationships, and invites us to step into our own greatness
Let’s start with language. Within accountability is an “account,” as in a story. We craft a coherent story of what has happened — a version all involved can easily agree to.
So, the account doesn’t build one person up (often a guilty or defensive reflex) or diminish the person who was impacted (the inverse attempt). It is about naming the facts of choices made and actions taken.
It’s not about being responsible for anyone else’s feelings. Accountability simply completes the story.
Accountability also holds the concept of “accounting”, so everything adds up. “I didn’t mail the check at the end of the week like I said I would. That’s why we have a late fee.”
Often there is a missing piece of information in challenging situations until accountability shows up. “Oh, now I see” is a signpost of accountability’s success. The other equation is where “words = actions”. It’s a balance sheet that adds up.
It builds trust by proving we are reliable to claim our actions as our own
We all know how steadying it feels when someone admits the choice they made — it can be more powerful than an apology. A specific, “I decided to squeeze in one more errand, and I was late meeting you,” brings necessary relief.
We can trust that person to relay the truth of their role in a situation, knowing they value interpersonal honesty more than their ego. Someone secure enough to tend to “what is true between us” is a more trustworthy friend, colleague, or romantic partner than someone who is fixated on “what does this say about me?”
It repairs relationships
In relationship repair, someone can offer as many “I’m sorry’s” as they can stomach without really doing “accountability”. The distinction is that when someone identifies the choice that caused problems, we have reason to believe they could see and make a different choice in the future.
Accountability places “what we can do now” directly before us. It empowers a relationship to keep growing.
“When that guy was belittling your work at the dinner party, I chose to stay quiet,” gives context and names the choice made. To excel at accountability, we use phrases like “I chose” and “I decided to” and use only action verbs.
So, “I was a terrible partner to you” is not accountability, whereas, “I failed to speak up” is clear and responsible. It lets everyone move forward in a new direction.
It invites people to step up into our own greatness
Where punishment (or even self-recrimination) seeks to put people down, accountability invites people to step up. It’s a chance to demonstrate our greatness, primarily to ourselves and consequentially to others. We all mess up. It’s what happens next that defines us.
Personal failures, large and small, are like a crossroads that offers two paths:
“Here, you can deny, defend, and grasp at your previous comfort — or demonstrate how secure, aware, and personally responsible you are, take a risk, and own it.”
It is a way to build solidity of character
Accountability is a way to build solidity of character by simply acknowledging, “I did this.” One path leads to lingering fear, self-doubt, and avoidance behaviors — one challenges us to endure momentary pain and uncertainty, then leads us to extended rewards.
When we choose accountability, we show ourselves that we can handle risk or discomfort, stay lovingly connected, and succeed. We emerge stronger and more resilient on the other side.
Content and Marketing Manager, crowjack
Accountability can be viewed as an essential personality trait and skill that can help people prosper in life. Being accountable helps you a great deal in your personal as well as professional life.
You can manage your personal decisions in a more practical way
Speaking of the significance of accountability in personal life, by being a more accountable person, you can manage your relationships, finances, and other personal decisions in a more practical way.
Related: What Does It Mean to Be Practical?
It makes you a perfect candidate for leadership roles in your professional life
Similarly, speaking of the need for accountability in your professional life, being accountable makes you a perfect candidate for leadership roles. Needless to say, in the corporate world, accountability is an imperative yet rare trait that does get its reward for sure.
Your accountability in the corporate world will be a direct measure of your credibility, trustworthiness, and ability to do justice to important responsibilities.
Before we delineate further the importance of accountability, let us look at the definition of accountability to be on the same page. In the most uncomplicated terms, being accountable means being answerable for your actions, decisions, and choices.
Those who are not accountable often try to pass the buck of responsibility or reasons for failure onto others. On the contrary, those with a great sense of accountability take complete responsibility for their actions and decisions.
Even if decisions go wrong or choices result in upheaval, accountable people will completely own up to it. Having said that, what kind of a person would you like to be, the former or the latter?
If you want to come across as a reliable person to others, you should aim to be the former one. Let’s discuss the significance of accountability for your career.
As mentioned above, accountability makes you a perfect person to take up leadership roles. When you are accountable, you do not only take responsibility for your own actions but also create a positive environment in your team such that everyone inculcates accountability.
Besides, being a more accountable person also promotes a greater sense of innovation. Let us try to understand this through an example.
Let’s say you are the project manager of the web development department at an IT firm that is still a startup. When you trust your accountability, and when people in your team look up to you as an accountable person, there will be larger room for innovation and experimentation.
To explain, you will have that risk-taking tendency to try a few things outside the box for your organization because, ultimately, you are willing to take responsibility if things go wrong.
Hence, accountability boosts your confidence to innovate. In the contemporary world, it is definitely a competitive edge you should not miss out on if you are keen on climbing the ladder of success.
It helps you to collaborate with others in the workplace in a more effective way
To elucidate, when people in a team environment can effectively depend on each other and when everyone in the team is accountable for their responsibilities, things happen smoothly.
Ultimately, that increases the project success rate and positively impacts each team member’s performance and growth. Accountability is a key leadership trait and career skill that will help you at all levels, even if you are not in a leadership position yet.
Similarly, being accountable affects your personal life positively in incredible ways. We already discussed it a little above in the introduction.
So, let us now elaborate a little on it. Let’s say you are the sole breadwinner of your family. You have a family of four, and your younger sister is still in college.
Now, in such a scenario, you need to be highly accountable for your expenditure and how you spend your money. You need to take greater responsibility for your financial decisions because one wrong financial decision can expose the entire family to financial uncertainty.
The same is applicable in the context of a love relationship. If you are not accountable enough for your decisions and promises, the other person may not be able to respect you in a way it should be in a relationship.
You will shy away from the important responsibilities of making that relationship work even against all odds when you are not accountable.
The bottom line is that accountability should be an intrinsic part of your character. To be a better person, a more accomplished worker, a more respectful boss, or a trusted partner in a relationship, you need accountability to be an integral part of yours.
Sports and Performance Psychologist
When accountable, you can connect on a deeper level with others
Taking responsibility for what you say you will do, and when you say you will do it is accountability. This means being honest about your actions and owning your mistakes. Being responsible for your attitude, actions, reactions, and communication fall under the accountability category.
When accountable, you can:
- foster honest relationships
- connect on a deeper level with others
- ensure cohesiveness
- build integrity
In a situation where your coworker shares with you that your demeanor is aggressive and your teammates are afraid to speak up, you can choose to accept constructive criticism.
An accountable person would respond with “thank you for your feedback” and apologize to the team for their behavior.
Understand what is causing you to behave aggressively. Asking for help is essential in fixing the problem. In a workplace scenario, creating solutions to issues demonstrates accountability.
For example, you can call the IT department instead of complaining about the computer freezing. This promotes leadership in addition to accountability. Overcoming different perspectives in the workplace and communicating better creates a strengthened culture.
Accountability leads to trust in the workplace
Communication creates a path for setting goals and expectations that everybody pitches in to accomplish. Accountability leads to trust in the workplace. When individuals are honest about their actions, trust is formed, and coworkers can count on each other.
This can include anything from meeting project deadlines to assisting coworkers on a project in your stated time frame.
Accountability deepens level of trust
Being accountable in a relationship is understanding that your actions may hurt your partner. For example, if you told your significant other you would call them in the evening and forgot to call, you have not kept your word, even if no deceit was intended.
If the pattern continues and your partner becomes angry that you haven’t changed, this will lead to discord in the relationship. An accountable person will apologize for their actions and change their wrongdoings.
By taking on responsibility, a deeper level of trust is formed.
Without accountability to family, friends, coworkers, or superiors, the words you say have less merit because proven actions do not back them over time.
Marriage and Family Therapist | Founder and Owner, Connected Therapy Practice
Accountability gives you the strength to persevere
When we try to do hard things, we often lack the motivation to get up every day and keep going. Consider, for example, if you were trying to follow a healthier diet than you have before, cutting out some of your old junk foods and replacing them with healthier alternatives.
At first, this new challenge may energize you and excite you; you’d find new recipes and foods that you had never tried before.
However, after a few days or weeks, you may not be enjoying the new diet so much. So, when you’re missing those old salty or sweet junk foods, you need accountability to get through the next day.
You need to have that roommate, spouse, or friend to text and say, “I really want to go back on my diet and get some junk food right now, and this is harder than I thought it would be.”
Then, your accountability partner can sympathize with how hard it is and encourage you that it is worth it to keep going. And although they can’t do the hard work for you, they can be with you in the struggle and help you feel not alone.
When you feel like you want to quit, you need someone else to provide the strength you need to persevere; it’s the only way to get through those hard days and come out on the other side.
Accountability makes the wins a celebration
You deserve to celebrate when you persevere through the hard times and emerge on the other side. And, there’s nothing better than celebrating with the people who have seen you through the lows to get to the highs.
In the example of following a new diet, imagine how good it would be to have a plan for celebrating your accomplishment. Maybe after a few weeks or months, you and some friends can plan to go out and get some delicious (but healthy) food as a reward.
The hope of that celebration could give you the strength you need to get through those trying times in the beginning.
There’s nothing wrong with admitting that we don’t have the intrinsic motivation to accomplish everything we want to. So, having a little external motivation from a friend can empower us to achieve the hard things in our lives.
Then, we get to enjoy our accomplishments with those who stuck with us through the hard times. Accountability can grow our relationships as it helps us grow too, so take advantage of it. You’re worth it!
Licensed Certified Marriage & Family Therapist, Elm Therapy and Wellness in Rockville, Maryland
It helps you to improve some aspects of your health and wellbeing
As a psychotherapist, I meet daily with people trying to change their lives. People who want to lose less healthy habits and incorporate the habits that can get them to where they want to be.
But my clients don’t often understand that habits are hard to change. Sure it’s easy to be motivated when starting a personal challenge. But how many of us have tried and failed to incorporate positive changes long term?
It’s usually not hard the first day when the shiny promise of a better version of us is bright on the horizon, but what about a month later when you’re tired, hungry, and depleted? That’s why accountability is so essential.
Accountability is the secret to success
Countless research studies have shown the effectiveness of creating accountability when we want to improve some aspect of our health and wellbeing.
Why is it so important? Because willpower fades, but a solid plan sticks around even when willpower is gone.
Made a public proclamation about eating more vegetables? You’re more likely to actually to eat that broccoli in the back of the fridge. Made a date to go walking with a friend? It’s harder to cancel a plan when a friend is counting on us.
Accountability is the secret to success.
Kara Nassour, LPC, NCC
Licensed Professional Counselor, Shaded Bough Counseling
It has a safe way to address the issue when a person does something wrong
Accountability means that when a person does something wrong, there’s a safe way to address the issue and prevent it from getting worse. Accountability reduces corruption and criminal activity for leaders because they know they will be held responsible for their actions.
Accountability improves morale among subordinates and lower management by ensuring everyone is treated fairly and rewarded based on merit — as long as everyone is held to the same standard.
It gives you the ability to speak up for yourself and handle conflict
In personal relationships, being able to hold your loved one accountable in a clear but empathetic way is necessary so that you can speak up for yourself and handle conflict.
In the same way, a friend or family member who holds you accountable can tell you what you need to hear, even when it’s hard.
Romantic partners who refuse to be held accountable when they’re wrong are likely to place their desires above their partners, which is often seen in abusive relationships.
Behavior Change Specialist | Fitness Nutrition Specialist | Personal Trainer
You have a shoulder to lean on
As things are now getting back to normal in the world, people are getting busier and busier:
- life tasks creep in
- the laundry piles up
- carpooling kids to activities is in full force, and
- our goals for our health & fitness fade away with the demands of life
You’re about to say, “ugh! I will just workout tomorrow!” until you remember that you told Sally that you would meet her to conquer a playground workout while your kids release some energy too!
So, you tie up those laces, throw up that mom bun, tuck the kids into their car seats, and get to steppin’ with Sally because you made that commitment with her.
It increases the chances of you sticking to your goals
Having an accountability partner increases the chances of you (and that person) sticking to your goal(s) by up to 95%. You are more likely to stick to your plans because you do not want to disappoint Sally!
Unfortunately, you’re a lot more likely to break the date with yourself than you are to break it with Sally.
If you had skipped out on Sally, a great accountability partner would gently ask you what happened, but more than that, they will ask you specifics about how you’re doing with your fitness goals.
The question, “how are you doing“ is too broad and leaves room for glossing over the truth. Asking more pointed questions, such as “how many miles did you run this weekend,” is much more direct and thus, keeps us that much more honest with ourselves and our accountability partners.
With that, our goals start to unfold because we are less likely to give up and quit. If we fall, that partner is right there to hoist us back up and back on track.
Consultant & Writer, Seniorstrong
Accountability can assist you in demonstrating a distinct life purpose
Accountability is vital to leading an honest life and keeping valuable relationships. It can assist you in demonstrating a distinct life purpose. You may demonstrate that you are following through on what you said you would do.
Accountability demonstrates your dedication to achieving a goal
Then, it keeps you motivated to take the necessary measures to achieve it. Others may also be inspired to set and accomplish their own objectives due to your pursuit of a goal.
Accountability enables people to rely on you
People will trust you more as long as you keep your promises. The discrepancy between words and deeds is hypocrisy. Being held accountable to a reliable partner might help you establish the reputation you want.
You can develop a reputation as someone who humbly acknowledges errors and takes responsibility for them. Relationships built on accountability last longer and are built strongly on trust.
You can attract genuine assistance from people
Serving and actively interacting with one another makes the collaboration or relationship peaceful. When you are accountable and honest, you attract genuine assistance from people. People could also introduce you to others who can assist you in moving forward.
They can assist you in overcoming a current or potential setback and maintaining focus on the objective. As someone who takes responsibility and accepts their mistakes, your reputation can make people want to collaborate and connect with you.
Criminal Defense and Family Law Lawyer, Soyars & Morgan Law
It provokes an emotional response
Holding yourself accountable provokes an emotional response. You will feel negative emotions if you don’t follow through with your projects. While most people avoid negative emotions, they are helpful when trying to achieve big goals.
They ensure you don’t keep missing essential deadlines or activities. There’s also a flip side to accountability. If you complete all your tasks, you will be rewarded with a feeling of achievement and positivity. This feeling becomes addictive, helping you stay on track in the future.
You stop blaming others
It’s easy to blame others for our shortcomings. Accountability means taking responsibility for your situation, which gives you complete control over your life. When you take responsibility for your actions, you look inward when tackling big challenges.
This builds decision-making skills and leadership qualities
Leaders seem like they have all the answers because they always ask themselves, “How can I make the best out of a bad situation?” Rather than, “Amy should have performed better, she is the reason we are in this mess.”
Senior Editor, Tandem
At times in our lives, we do good things; unfortunately, we also do bad things. Whether these actions are on purpose or by accident, we should always own up to what we have done.
This could mean taking accountability or claiming responsibility for what was done. Some might wonder, why is accountability important or even is it necessary?
We can learn from our mistakes
We are all human, and, therefore, we all make mistakes. Mistakes are just a part of life. It’s okay to make mistakes, but we must learn from them, so we don’t continually make the same mistakes.
Being accountable for our mistakes is one way to help ensure we don’t make these mistakes repeatedly.
We need to fix what is broken
If there were actions that caused something to break or otherwise not function properly, having someone accountable for what has transpired is the first step in fixing what is wrong. If we don’t know who created the malfunction, we might be unable to fix it properly.
We can praise the correction
Sometimes, it’s not what we did wrong but what we did to correct it that’s important. It’s okay to be accountable and admit to mistakes or errors. Remember — it’s not just how we handle that situation but how we handle fixing it that people will keep in their minds.
Being held accountable doesn’t mean you are the so-called “fall guy.” It just means that you live and learn, and if you are lucky, you grow a little along the way.
Aaron Guyett, CSCS
Director of Education, Living.Fit
Not taking accountability will set you up for failure
“I don’t want people to know my personal problems and issues — those are for me to know and work on.” If this rings true for you, chances are pretty high that you have been suffering from these personal problems and issues for a long time.
Most people don’t want to share their darkest secrets and difficulties with anyone. I get it. We love to show our love and light and good stuff to everyone because it feels good, and it is an acceptable way to improve our standing with our peer groups and spheres of influence.
But what if I were to say it is also keeping you from reaching your best? Sometimes the path forward means going back a bit. I know that sounds brutal and wrong, but let me explain. We cannot control what we do not take ownership and responsibility for.
Think about it like this: I have an ice cream eating issue at night, which stems from stress and nutrition deficiencies, but it is my problem that nobody knows about but me.
I see it as a way for me to feel good after a very strenuous day in the office (enter smoking, drinking, drugs, sex, or any other issue that might be hidden from all that is keeping you from being your best in life).
I know it is a choice, but it is almost as if the stress of the day piles up and leaves me no other option but to consume this ice cream to right the wrongs of the day. There is little chance of me taking control of this unless I come to terms with my limitations.
Not only is not taking ownership and responsibility for my actions going to set me up for failure, but not being accountable to someone who cares about you will keep you in that failure.
You see, for me to go forward, I may have to jump into the dark and scary underworld of my imperfections and problems to unearth them so that I can do something about them.
Telling and getting real with myself is a great first step, but often it is the support and accountability that comes from a community or friendship that will keep me moving in the right direction.
Accountability pays off when your support group, friend, or community holds you accountable for what you said you didn’t want to do, yet did it anyway because (insert all the excuses in the world here).
It keeps you honest about taking ownership and responsibility
Accountability keeps you honest about taking ownership and responsibility so that you can clear the path to a better you — even when you are “over it” and a “victim” of the circumstances of life (which will always hit you when you are least ready for it).
You see, I have many areas of my life that, in my most healthy, happy, knowledgeable, intelligent, and emotionally in-touch state, I should be a certain way and do a certain thing.
In these areas, I have given a very keen and consistent group of people questions that will inevitably demonstrate to them whether I am going according to the highest level of my best self or beginning to devolve into specific areas.
These individuals get an answer to these questions each week, and they are given the right to call me on any of these areas — especially if I don’t answer the questions.
It puts ownership and responsibility in your life choices
This accountability adjusts my internal and external “instruments” and puts ownership and responsibility where they should be in my daily and weekly choices. If I am off, they don’t criticize me or make fun of me; they ask how it happened and how I will make the adjustments to get back on track.
It will clear the path for a better you
This is just one way to bring accountability into your life. Still, however you do it, it is one of the most powerful tools to take back ownership and responsibility, which will most definitely clear the path for a better you.
CEO and Founder, Public Rec
It’s about saying what you mean and meaning what you say
Imagine if no one came to work. Your editor didn’t show up to proofread your articles. Your boss wasn’t there to pay for the staff lunch. Your coworkers stayed home on radio silence, returning no emails or shared work.
Accountability today is about saying what you mean and meaning what you say. When you make a mistake, own up to it. When you put in the work, take ownership of your success.
It demonstrates emotional maturity and self-awareness
Accountability usually only becomes a problem when paired with avoidance. For example, employees who make mistakes and become afraid of the consequences end up creating other issues when they do not take responsibility for their part in the mess.
Ultimately, being able to account for your actions and words demonstrates emotional maturity and self-awareness.
It shows a person’s willingness to participate fully in whatever they do
For businesses, at least, pretending something didn’t happen or making excuses to save your skin isn’t productive — both for employees’ personal development or business success.
Accountability is necessary because it shows a person’s willingness to participate fully in whatever they do without running, shirking, or hiding from the work.
Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor | Co-founder, Phasezero Recovery
It helps you take responsibility for the things in your life you are in control of
Contrary to what many are taught, accountability is less about others taking the time to check in on you. It can be most effective when used to help you take responsibility for the things in your life you are in control of.
In recovery circles, we talk about this often. It is not the job of others to initiate accountability; instead, the most effective form of accountability comes from taking responsibility for your own life, seeking out others, and actively engaging with them in a relationship.
This will naturally build accountability.
Remember that you are not accountable for others but can be accountable to others. The same is true in that others are not accountable for you or your actions but can be accountable to you.
If accountability does not foster personal responsibility and ownership, that is most likely a reflection of your lack of engagement in the relationship with those you hope to have accountability.
ADHD Mentor | Blogger | Podcast, “An ADD Woman” Host
We lack enough conviction to change our mindsets and habits without accountability
Accountability is important because if we falter to a strictly self-governing ideology and lifestyle, we lack enough conviction to change our mindsets and habits or even to stay committed to things when our feelings become overwhelming.
Objective accountability is more important than anything else, considering our consciousness often wants to be spiteful or treat our relationships or goals with an eye for an eye mentality.
I’m likely not to want to treat my co-worker kindly if he mistreats me, but what would that accomplish other than simply make me feel better? Instead, I stay accountable to my beliefs and my employer that I am to maintain my integrity regardless of others’ actions towards me.
To put it another way, If someone decides to change their habits or their lifestyle, say they want to begin working out regularly, but if they are both the subject and the governing authority over their habit — well, then they can make the rule and decide when the rule can be broken.
And since human nature errors on the side of our feelings, you’re likely to simply give up and make excuses. Claim that it’s “not for you.” When really, it’s not the subject of your goals that is letting you down — it’s that you also gave yourself as your governing authority to oversee those goals.
This would be like each criminal in our society being allowed to also be the judge in their courtroom. It makes for chaos.
But we fight back against accountability, don’t we? We hire coaches to help us make changes we desire to make and then cancel working with them after we fail to see our idea of success.
But that’s not what accountability is. It’s for progress. And for helping you recognize when your feelings are just that, not worthy of making decisions strictly based on them.
Growth is always uncomfortable. We’re human, and we don’t like to be uncomfortable. We like to have it easy. But that’s not what growth is about.
And if you want to see real change in society, in people, or even in your own household, you have to get comfortable with accountability that makes you feel uncomfortable so you can grow past your struggles.
It allows you to decrease your time and effort on useless activities and bad habits
People are effectively taught to appreciate their job when you hold them responsible for their behaviors. Thus, it can boost your team members’ competencies and self-confidence when done properly.
Without accountability, nothing in life can be done to its full potential! It is the one component that holds all of these stages together and allows a new self to develop.
Accountability entails leading a life of integrity in which all your words, deeds, and ideas are in harmony and conformity. This is essential to sustaining long-term success and taming your inner critic.
Commitment is one thing, but accountability is another. Being accountable means taking ownership of one’s behavior and its consequences.
No matter what you do, there will always be repercussions. Your decision to make sure your thoughts, words, and deeds are interacting positively and synergistically to bring the outcomes you want to achieve with yourself.
It is important to own your part in the process, accept responsibility for what you can control, and be accountable for it.
Accountability gets off to a good start when you commit to the process by accepting where you are right now and being conscious of the truth of your circumstance.
It is crucial to accept responsibility by recognizing your current situation. It cannot exist in the absence of ownership!
With that, accountability is important because:
- It helps you become responsible for your actions.
- Convince you to take ownership in every situation.
- Increase your self-assurance and initiative.
- Improve your decision-making abilities by validating your own ideas.
- Avoid conflicts by blaming others for your own errors.
- Encourage you to try new things that will push you to improve your current skills and abilities.
Founder, Express Dentist
It can help reduce errors and improve quality control in the workplace
Accountability is important, particularly in the workplace, because it can help reduce errors and improve quality control.
For example, if someone is accountable for a task and knows that they will be held responsible for any mistakes, they are likely to take greater care and attention to completing the task.
Similarly, when everyone is held accountable for their actions, it creates a sense of responsibility and ownership among employees. Those who feel invested in their work are more likely to produce high-quality results.
It promotes a culture of trust and mutual respect
Additionally, accountability promotes a culture of trust and mutual respect. If employees feel their contributions are valued and their mistakes will be fairly dealt with, they are more comfortable voicing their concerns and sharing ideas.
Hence, accountability fosters a culture of excellence within an organization, where everyone works together to achieve the best possible results.
Chief Innovation and Product Officer, carVertical
Accountability drives purpose and progress
Accountability pushes people to be more careful and deliberate in their actions and choices because they own up to the outcomes of those decisions.
Their sense of responsibility will make them commit to their goal and take the needed steps to accomplish it, leading them closer to what they aspire to while growing.
Even when things don’t go as planned, an accountable person takes responsibility for mistakes. They will work to resolve issues, mend broken trust, and learn from the experience.
Accountability is essential in helping people focus on their goals and building them for growth.
It paves the way for more productive work in an organization
In organizations, accountability is necessary to ensure effective collaboration.
When people know who handles what and the expectations for each person:
- the workflow becomes simpler
- conflicts due to overlapping responsibilities are avoided, and
- the team’s productivity improves
Licensed Realtor & President, Florida Cash Home Buyers, LLC
Accountability ensures that people within your organization meet their goals
Without accountability, 99% of people will be inclined to fall short of their goals. They might set a high goal for themselves, but they know they can fall short and not suffer any negative consequences. At the first sign of difficulty, they will stop trying.
However, a culture of accountability encourages people to work harder to meet their goals. They do so because they do not want to disappoint their teammates.
On that note, accountability is not just for leaders. In the most successful organizations, everyone is responsible for holding others accountable.
The most successful organizations are those where the burden of leadership is not always reserved for the leader. Teammates will take it upon themselves to hold others accountable before the leader has to.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is accountability?
Accountability is the willingness to take responsibility for one’s actions and decisions. It involves acknowledging and owning the consequences of those actions, whether positive or negative.
In essence, accountability is about being answerable to oneself and others, demonstrating integrity, and maintaining trust in personal and professional relationships.
How do you develop accountability?
Developing accountability is a process that starts with understanding its importance and then implementing practices that promote personal and collective responsibility.
Here are some steps to help you develop accountability:
• Embrace the importance of accountability: Recognize that being accountable is essential for personal growth, building trust, and achieving success in various aspects of life.
• Establish goals: Set clear, specific, and achievable goals. Break them into smaller milestones to make them more manageable and less overwhelming.
• Create an action plan: Develop a detailed plan outlining the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. This will give you a roadmap to follow and keep you on track.
• Share your goals: Share your objectives with a trusted friend, family member, or mentor who can help you stay accountable. Regular check-ins with them can provide encouragement, support, and constructive feedback.
• Develop a routine: Establish routines that support your goals and help you build good habits. Consistency is key when it comes to developing accountability.
• Learn from setbacks: Mistakes and setbacks are inevitable, but they can be valuable learning experiences. Reflect on what went wrong and use that insight to adjust your approach and prevent future missteps.
Can accountability be measured and tracked?
Yes, accountability can be measured and tracked! Measuring accountability involves assessing how individuals or teams take responsibility for their actions and decisions.
You can effectively track accountability by setting clear expectations, monitoring progress, and evaluating performance. Here are a few ways to do that:
• Establish clear objectives: Ensure that everyone is aware of the goals and their role in achieving them. This creates a solid foundation for measuring progress.
• Implement Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): KPIs help you track progress by quantifying outcomes and providing data to assess individual or team performance.
• Conduct regular reviews: Regular check-ins and feedback sessions allow you to monitor progress and address any concerns or issues. This ongoing dialogue fosters an environment of growth and development.
How can accountability be improved in an organization?
Improving accountability in an organization starts with fostering a culture of responsibility, trust, and support. Here are a few steps to enhance accountability:
• Lead by example: As a leader, demonstrate accountability by owning your actions, admitting mistakes, and striving for improvement. This sets the tone for the entire organization.
• Communicate expectations clearly: Ensure that everyone understands their responsibilities, deadlines, and expected outcomes. Clear communication is key to preventing misunderstandings.
• Provide resources and support: Equip your team with the necessary tools, training, and resources to fulfill their responsibilities. Encourage open communication and be available to help when needed.
• Recognize and reward accountability: Celebrate those who take responsibility for their actions and achieve their goals. Recognition and rewards reinforce the importance of accountability within the organization.
How can accountability be maintained and sustained over time?
Maintaining and sustaining accountability over time involves creating a consistent habit of self-reflection, setting clear expectations, and fostering an environment of open communication. Here are a few strategies to help you achieve this:
• Develop self-awareness: Take the time to understand your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. This will help you stay accountable to yourself and others by knowing where you need to focus your efforts.
• Set clear expectations: Clearly define your goals, responsibilities, and expectations, both for yourself and for those you work with. This will ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards common objectives.
• Track progress regularly: Regularly monitor your progress and evaluate how well you are meeting your goals. This will keep you accountable to yourself and others, as well as identify any areas that may require additional attention or adjustments.
• Foster open communication: Encourage honest, open dialogue with your peers, team members, or mentors. This will create a supportive environment where people feel comfortable discussing their progress, challenges, and successes.
• Seek feedback: Actively seek input from others about your performance and ask for suggestions on how to improve. This will not only keep you accountable but also help you grow and develop.
What happens when there’s no accountability?
When there’s no accountability, several negative consequences can arise:
• Erosion of trust: Without accountability, trust between individuals and within organizations can diminish, leading to strained relationships and a lack of collaboration.
• Lower morale and motivation: When people don’t take responsibility for their actions, it can create an atmosphere of complacency, negatively impacting motivation and overall morale.
• Poor decision-making: A lack of accountability may result in people making decisions without considering the consequences, leading to suboptimal outcomes and potential harm.
• Stagnation and limited growth: Without accountability, individuals and organizations may fail to learn from mistakes, stifling growth and development.
What are the challenges when trying to be accountable?
Being accountable can present several challenges:
• Overcoming fear of failure: The fear of failure or making mistakes can make it difficult to take responsibility for one’s actions. Embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.
• Navigating discomfort: Owning up to mistakes and facing the consequences can be uncomfortable. However, confronting this discomfort is essential for personal and professional growth.
• Balancing priorities: Juggling multiple responsibilities can make it challenging to stay accountable for each commitment. Develop effective time management and prioritization strategies to help navigate this challenge.
• Managing external pressures: Societal or organizational pressures may sometimes conflict with personal values or goals. Stay true to your values and focus on what matters most to you.
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