Developing Personal Accountability

Taking Responsibility to Get Ahead

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Take responsibility and you'll reap the rewards.

Martha is frustrated. She's trying to solve a problem with a stationery order, but the customer service agent she’s talking to isn’t helping.

"It was the despatch team’s fault. I can’t do anything about that," he says. Martha asks to be put through to another agent. He handles the situation very differently.

"I’m sorry to hear about this problem," he says. "I'll find out what's happened and send the order by express delivery. It will be with you tomorrow."

Martha feels less stressed straight away. The first agent shirked his responsibilities, but the second made himself personally accountable for fixing the problem. He took ownership of the situation, apologized, and found a solution.

In this article, we’ll look at what personal accountability means. We'll also explore how you make it one of your core values.

What is Personal Accountability?

Management consultant Todd Herman defined personal accountability as "being willing to answer … for the outcomes resulting from your choices, behaviors, and actions."

When you’re personally accountable, you take ownership of situations that you’re involved in. You see them through, and you take responsibility for what happens – good or bad. You don’t blame others if things go wrong. Instead, you do your best to make things right.

In the workplace, accountability can go beyond your own tasks. For example, you may be held accountable for the actions of your team.

Tip:

If you’ve recently become a senior leader in your organization, read our article on how to take responsibility in a new role.

How Personal Accountability Helps

Sometimes it can be tough to take personal accountability. However, you'll find that it offers many advantages....

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