One of the leading concerns among senior executives is accountability from managers, leaders, and employees. Blame doesn’t solve problems and only creates a negative culture within a company. So how does an enterprise facilitate personal accountability within their organization?
Enterprises need to create a culture where employees feel empowered to take personal accountability within the organization where the results won’t feel punitive. Utilizing a constructive approach to learn and move forward from mistakes or missteps, companies will encourage individuals to take responsibility instead of placing blame.
To develop personal accountability, individuals need to embrace certain behaviors. We’ll list the six most important ones.
What is Personal Accountability?
Personal accountability is being willing to accept the consequences resulting from your choices, actions, or behaviors. Being personally accountable means owning the situations that you’ve been apart of. This means taking responsibility for the outcome, whether it is good or bad, and doing your best to rectify the situation.
Why is Personal Accountability Important?
While it can be challenging to assert accountability, especially when the situation isn’t good or you’ve failed on a task, it is in these situations when personal responsibility matters most. By taking ownership of the situation, action, or choice, you build:
- Healthy relationships with friends, colleagues, and family
- More positive social interactions
- Trust within your team and work environment
- Respect for keeping your word
- Problem-solving skills
- Opportunities for promotion
When you show that you are trustworthy, dependable, and willing to take ownership even when things fail, you become someone senior colleagues can depend on and will earn leadership opportunities.
6 Behaviors that Can Help You Demonstrate Personal Accountability
While it can be challenging to take personal accountability for situations, it is a skill you can develop. The more you exhibit these six behaviors, you’ll become more accountable for your actions, choices, and behaviors.
1. Understand Your Role in the Situation
When you have a clear definition of what tasks, responsibilities, and deliverables you must accomplish, the easier it is to take ownership of it. If your job or tasks are unclear, you’ll want to talk to your manager to receive a clear scope of what you have ownership over.
If you work closely with others on a team, ensure that everyone’s tasks and responsibilities are clearly defined and that everyone understands what they must deliver as well as the deadlines. Make sure that the team as a whole has ownership of the project as a whole so that problems and breakdowns can be surfaced early and problem-solved together.
2. Be Honest With Everyone (Including Yourself)
First and foremost, be honest with your coworkers, managers, family, and friends. When you tell the truth, they will depend on you for honest opinions, assessment, and advice. While telling the truth can be challenging when you’ve made a mistake, taking personal responsibility builds integrity and often reduces consequences. When people hide from, blame, or ignore a problem, it doesn’t go away, and usually becomes even worse.
Don’t use honesty to blame others or to make excuses. Instead, you should focus on how your role is impacted and how you can help resolve the problem, as well as what you’ve learned..
Be honest with yourself. If you are in way over your head, don’t wait to ask for help. Seeking help to complete tasks is better than missing deadlines because you couldn’t get it done independently.
Related Link: Building Trust in the Workplace
Do you need help creating a work environment where employees feel comfortable taking accountability? Contact B STATE to learn more about their proven strategies.
3. Be Quick to Apologize
If you recognize that you may have done something wrong in a situation, then be quick to say sorry and work to rectify the situation. When you follow an apology with actions that will help the situation, it will make it easier for everyone to move on and work together to resolve the problem. Don’t forget – solving the problem doesn’t fall on you and you alone. Taking action to rectify the situation could be asking for help problem-solving, asking for help completing a task, or delegating the task altogether to someone who has the resources and bandwidth to get it done.
In some countries and states, an apology can be taken as an admission of liability. Be aware of your situation before you say sorry if it can implicate your organization. Instead, talk to your manager or a lawyer if liability could be at stake. You’ll want to take accountability and ensure you don’t implicate your business, depending on the case.
4. Manage Your Time Wisely
Another key attribute of personal accountability is excellent time management skills. If you are productively managing your time and projects, you’ll complete tasks on time, and coworkers will be able to rely on you for critical tasks.
Procrastination is an easy way to avoid responsibility or delay dealing with a situation or task. You’ll want to identify procrastination triggers, such as:
- Lacking resources to complete a task
- Lacking the motivation to complete a task because it doesn’t challenge you
- Avoiding confrontation because of a problem
If you procrastinate often, you’ll become unreliable to those around you.
5. Know Your Limits
Do you often take on too much because you have a hard time saying no? Does this lead to dropping the ball on some projects because you don’t have the time or resources to complete tasks? To take on a manageable load that you can successfully be accountable for, you’ll want to:
- Be mindful of your schedule.
- Determine if you have the skills, resources, and time to complete the project on time.
- Be open about what’s on your plate so that the individual or manager can help you prioritize tasks and responsibilities.
6. Be Open to Change
By taking personal accountability for your actions, choices, and behaviors, you’ll want to assess each situation where you could improve. Ask for feedback on how you could have done things differently. Be open to constructive criticism and then apply what you’ve learned.
In some situations, you may want to create a plan for handling the situation in the future. By having a plan in place, you’re more likely to follow through because you know how to address the problem or task.
7. Be Outcome Driven
Whether you’re just being accountable to yourself or being accountable to a team, being outcome-driven can be immensely helpful. Being accountable isn’t just about doing tasks and being responsible. You have to know the outcomes you’re looking to get and devise a plan to get there. However, since your outcomes are new, you may not know the exact right plan to achieve them, and external factors could inhibit or help you along the way. People who are accountable don’t just do what they say they’re going to do, they get the results they say they’re going to get.
8. Know What You’re Accountable For and Who You’re Accountable To
A big part of being accountable is know what you’re accountable for and who you are accountable to. You can only be held accountable if you know exactly what you’re committing to. This involves both the results or outcomes you’re looking to get as well as the habits you’ve agreed upon to get you there. The habits are sort of like your plan, but involve things that are more flexible such as surfacing an issue that arises early rather than waiting, asking for help when you need it, and having regular meetings with your team. Regardless of the plan and whether or not it gets off track, these accountable habits will help you get to your desired outcome – the thing you’re accountable for accomplishing. Not knowing what you’re accountable for can create confusion, missteps, and a lack of accountability.
Who you’re accountable to is also important. If you’re trying to get healthy and clean up your house or apartment, you might just be accountable to yourself and your family. If you’re trying to accomplish goals at work, you’re accountable to yourself, your team, and your boss. Knowing who you’re accountable to can help all the people involved hold each other accountable by offering support, helping to improve each other’s necessary skills, and problem-solving together. Knowing who you’re accountable to can also help increase motivation and momentum because you don’t want to let down your team or family. It’s easier to accomplish goals when you’re in it together rather than alone.
How Do You Accept Accountability?
Personal accountability takes courage. While it may be challenging to take responsibility when a situation or task didn’t end the way you intended it, if you show courage and own up to your actions, then you’ll gain the respect and trust of your coworkers.
Be mindful of times when you could’ve been better about taking responsibility and learn from your mistakes. Then make a plan to be more honest and open with those around you. When you communicate better with those around you, you can diffuse the problem and work together to find a solution.
Personal Accountability Makes You a Better Team Player
By showing personal accountability, you’ll grow in integrity and reliability. You will also indicate that you’ll own up to your mistakes, and your coworkers and friends will appreciate that you find a more constructive way to resolve problems that arise.
Do you want to transform your company’s culture to be more productive? Learn more about B STATE’s proven strategies for creating more effective departments and teams.
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