What is Accountability in The Workplace

September 1, 2021

What is Accountability?

When it comes to professional growth, employees who hold themselves accountable for the outcome of their actions and behave responsibly climb the ladder of success two steps at a time. Workspace-speaking, also, everybody enjoys having self-accountable colleagues who take their jobs seriously and takes the heat when they drop the ball. But how can we define accountability?

If we’re bent on putting accountability into a short sentence, it would be something like this: “the willingness of answering for the outcomes of one’s decisions, behaviors, and actions.” However, in a more lucid state, accountability in the workplace can be distributed into five essential ingredients:

  • Obligation – the self-devotion to accomplish something
  • Willingness – the power in one’s mind to be a doer, not a talker
  • Intent – or reasoning at every step of developing a decision
  • Ownership – owing up to what one has done
  • Commitment – utter dedication to a task or goal at hand

Benefits of Accountability

Self-accountability comes a wide range of opportunities and benefits which help an employee as a single unit and the team they are working with.

First and foremost, it helps to build trust in the environment. People know they can trust and rely on a self-accountable colleague and, more often than not, they come to them with their problems or requests. Also, if taken on by a leader, s/he emits positive reinforcing vibes throughout the group and, in return, receives unfaltering respect and admiration. Words of these people are steady as a mountain.

Secondarily, employees who radiate accountability in the workplace better understand how to socialize. They take responsibility for their doings, either bad or good, and tend to communicate their feelings more openly to others. As a result, they end up establishing healthier and more encouraging social bridges with their subordinates or friends in the office.

More accurate decision-making folds in harmonically with other benefits of self-accountability. Those who seek detention in themselves and make amends for what they’ve done, not only help themselves, but also save a lot of time, energy, and money for others. They speak up as soon as something goes wrong, and without wasting time, look for solutions to fix the problem.

If someone’s showing high accountability in the workplace, chances are, they get promoted over others. These individuals burn with the light of leadership, which is something every manager looks for in an employee.

Difference Between Responsibility and Accountability in The Workplace

the difference of accountability

Responsibility is sticking to the “to-do” list visible on the job description form without any regard for what it might produce while accountability is the ownership for the results of those actions.

In simpler words, a responsible employee/authority might completely finish the task that’s been handed to them, but a self-accountable member won’t stop until they get the most efficient and best results.

As an example, picture a professional accountant who documents everything balances check books flawlessly and prepares financial records like it’s nobody’s business. They, however, don’t have a care in the world what the outcome of these actions turn out to be. And, hypothetically, if something goes south, they try to step away from the mess with a single annoying sentence, “I did what I was told.” Nobody can blame them, of course, for the confusion, since they’ve done their job correctly - on the paper at least. But, the fault in their personal resolute to get brave and take the heat will become apparent to their colleagues and boss.

In an even more digestible tone, responsibility is taking ownership of activities while accountability in the workplace is taking ownership for the outcomes of those actions.

How to Move From Responsible to Accountable

Not everyone is a born leader who promotes accountability in the workplace or among their co-workers. Many achieve this empowering futuristic by following some simple yet effective steps:

Don’t Blame

As soon as someone says “it wasn’t my fault,” the word starts to spread across the organization faster than the COVID-19 virus, and before you can begin to the damage-control protocol, you’ll find the workspace in dire need of immediate recovery; recovery from a sickness called “blaming others.”

If you don’t want to paralyze the system, and boost accountability in the workplace, learn not to put up your guards quickly as soon as something terrible goes down. And, don’t start blaming others for the unfortunate incident.

The case even sparks more controversy if it’s originated from the leaders and managers.They should short circuit the spread of the “blaming others” pandemic by not pointing fingers at each other or subordinates.

Look in The Mirror

The ability to measure how you have contributed to your present problem and situation is the first step on the road to better self-acknowledgment. Deep down, we all know what we have done that contributed to the circumstances we deal with now.If you want to make a better professional future for yourself, understanding the consequences of your actions is essential.

Construct the Solution

Following the two above steps lures people into a position where they've been an all-around concept of how the problem unfolded and how they got stuck in it. Knowing that they are halfway into finding a suitable and effective solution that gets rid of the issue.

Once people get a grasp of how they got involved in the current situation, they’d start looking more carefully into it and slowly developing some changes that can impact the problem – either on a personal level or an organizational level.

Unworthy leaders usually are in the mindset that others caused the problem. So, they do what they do best to fix the workforce; employee write-ups, threats, and punishments. Often, these actions will lead to some very unfortunate grave repercussions since:

  1. Employees don’t respond well to being “fixed.”
  2. The source of the problem lies somewhere else. Leaders may think that others are to blame in these situations, but that’s a far stretch from the truth.

Also, check out this video to be inspired.

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