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How to Take Personal Accountability for Your Actions

Read Time: 9 mins

Employees are more connected than ever. What you do affects others' success as well as your own. Learn about the importance of accountability in the workplace.

Accountability has benefits to your personal and professional life.Accountability has benefits to your personal and professional life.Accountability has benefits to your personal and professional life.
Accountability has benefits for your personal and professional life. (Image source: Envato Elements)

In this tutorial, I’ll discuss what accountability is and some benefits of taking accountability. Also, I’ll give some examples of accountability and ten tips on how to take accountability for your actions.

What Is Accountability?

AccountabilityAccountabilityAccountability
Accountability (Image source: Envato Elements)

According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, the definition of accountability is

“the extent to which an individual is answerable to another (e.g., a supervisor, official review body, a group of peers) for his or her behavior, decisions, or judgments. In groups, accountability is influenced by anonymity and the extent to which the contributions of each member of the group are clearly identifiable.”

Others can hold you responsible for your actions. Also, you can hold yourself accountable for your actions. (But self-accountability can be more difficult.)

When you hold yourself accountable, you manage your work and life responsibilities so that you fulfill your obligations to others. This also means that you reflect on your actions.

What Are Some Benefits of Accepting Responsibility?

Self-accountability has benefits.Self-accountability has benefits.Self-accountability has benefits.
Self-accountability has benefits. (Image source: Envato Elements)

There are some self-accountability and work accountability benefits. When you practice self-accountability, you're able to have important goals and understand why you've got those goals. Here are some benefits of self-accountability:

  • You'll be able to evaluate your own work. This means that you can produce better quality work.
  • Your self-confidence increases. When you learn the best ways to achieve your goals and complete your obligations, you’ll feel more confident.
  • You become more knowledgeable. When you've got self-accountability, you learn self-management skills. These skills help you learn more information that can help you prepare for future goals.
Accountability at work can lead to a more successful work life.Accountability at work can lead to a more successful work life.Accountability at work can lead to a more successful work life.
Accountability at work can lead to a more successful work life. (Image source: Envato Elements)

Accountability at work can help any company to achieve success. If you’re a leader in a company, consider these benefits of accountability:

  • Improves people’s performance. When every person in a team knows their responsibilities and expectations, they'll know what they need to work on daily.
  • More compliance. When people understand the consequences of their actions, they'll follow the guidelines in place. When people are held accountable for their actions, it can create a more comfortable environment for employees.
  • Improves company culture. When employees take responsibility for their mistakes and support others' goals, it makes for a positive and healthy work culture.

Examples of Taking Accountability for Your Actions

There are many benefits of taking accountability for your actions. Maybe you want to know what that looks like. Here are three examples of taking accountability for your actions:

  1. If your team at work is failing, don’t deny it. Instead, look for solutions to improve your teamwork
  2. If you miss the deadline, don’t make excuses. Just try to do better next time
  3. If your relationship with someone is going through difficulties, don't stress over the other person's actions. Think about what you've done wrong. Try to work on the things you can change and not the things you can't.

10 Tips on How to Take Accountability for Your Actions

You've just learned how important it is to take accountability for your actions. Here are ten practical tips on how to take accountability for your actions:

1. Admit Your Mistakes

The first step to taking accountability is to admit your mistakes. There are times in life when you've got to make an important decision. If you make the wrong choice, you need to recognize that you made the wrong choice. Recognizing that you made a mistake is how you prevent making the same mistake in the future.

Admit your mistakes. Admit your mistakes. Admit your mistakes.
Admit your mistakes. (Image source: Envato Elements)

When you’ve admitted your mistake, you can then work on correcting your mistake. If you make a mistake at work and own up to it, others will respect you for your honesty. Everyone makes mistakes, so people understand making a mistake. But if you make a mistake and don’t admit it and make an excuse or place the blame on others, then people won't respect you.

Here's a tutorial with more tips on how to handle mistakes:

2. Be Respectful

Part of having accountability is to be respectful when taking care of your responsibilities or admitting your mistakes. It’s easy to get frustrated with yourself when you make a mistake. But you should remain respectful when admitting your mistake. Everyone has people they should be respectful to in their lives, whether it’s your boss, an employee, or a waiter.

If you try to hold someone else accountable for their mistake, they'll listen to you more if you're respectful when discussing it. Having an accountability partner is great. But it'll only be successful there's mutual respect.

3. Be Proactive

To take accountability for your actions, you need to be proactive towards your goals in life. If you don’t have any goals, look at what you want to do and make some. When you make goals, don’t make excuses or say that you can’t do anything because of your situation, work on completing your goals.

Be proactive.Be proactive.Be proactive.
Be proactive. (Image source: Envato Elements)

By taking action in your life, you’re embracing your life responsibilities. If you fail, try to find a solution and try again. Everyone fails at some point. But that’s not a reason to quit.

4. Do Your Best

It can be hard to take accountability, especially in challenging situations. But you mustn’t give up no matter the challenge. Just because things are too hard isn't a reason to give up. Instead, try your best to work hard, so you take accountability for your responsibilities.

The benefits outweigh the perks of giving up. So, when you can achieve your goals in life and do your best to be successful.

5. Be Honest

While you’re working on accountability, it's important to be honest. If you're worried you won’t complete your goal or task, ask for help. Be honest with a friend, coworker, or boss and tell them you're worried about completing the goal or task on time. People appreciate honesty and will help you get what you need to be done on time.

Be honest.Be honest.Be honest.
Be honest. (Image source: Envato Elements)

If you aren’t honest and end up not completing your task, people will be disappointed and have a negative view of you.

For example, you're in a team. Everyone is assigned a task and it's due by Friday. Friday comes, and your task isn’t done. You say you had trouble so that you couldn’t complete it. Now everyone is behind and they're disappointed in you.

Good people are willing to help those struggling to complete a task. But don’t ask for help too often because it can make it seem like you're trying to put your responsibilities onto someone else.

To learn more about other important values that may improve your accountability, review this article:

6. Ask Questions

While working on how to take accountability, you can ask questions if you don’t understand the task. No one knows everything. It can be intimidating to ask questions at work. If you ask questions, you'll learn the skills you need to complete tasks and succeed at work. If the person you’re asking doesn’t know the answer, find someone who does.

Work mentors can help with accountability and help you learn more about your job if you can find someone willing to mentor you at work. Especially if you're new to your job, a mentor can show you how to do tasks, provide accountability, and answer questions.

7. Stay Focused

Part of accountability is staying focused on the task or goal. Distractions can lead to procrastination. Procrastination can lead to you not completing your task or goal. Some distractions can even become a habit. Don’t let your distractions become a bad habit. Focus on your goal and what you need to do to complete your next task.

Stay focused.Stay focused.Stay focused.
Stay focused. (Image source: Envato Elements)

If you've got an accountability partner, they can help you when distracted. If you don’t realize that you’re distracted, an accountability partner can help you get back on track.

8. Don’t Blame Others

Don’t blame others for your mistakes or problems if you want to take accountability. When you constantly blame others for your mistakes, it'll annoy people. They won’t want to be around you. Also, when you blame others, it can be exhausting to feel guilty for blaming someone else.

So, the next time you make a mistake, you should take responsibility. If your mistake caused a problem, try to come up with a solution for the problem. When you apologize for your mistake, if you also present a solution, it can make others less upset about your mistake.

9. Don’t Make False Promises

Part of having personal accountability is following through on your promises. Unfortunately, there are instances where you can’t complete a promise because an emergency happens. But these circumstances should only happen a few times.

For example, if you promised to eat dinner with friends but had a bad day at work, you shouldn’t cancel the plans. But, if you made plans to eat dinner with friends but you broke your leg, then it's okay to cancel plans.

Don't make false promises.Don't make false promises.Don't make false promises.
Don't make false promises. (Image source: Envato Elements)

If you’re worried about breaking promises, try to limit the number of promises and commitments you make. Breaking promises routinely can make the reasons for breaking the promises seem like excuses to others.

10. Work on It Everyday

If you want to take accountability regularly, try taking accountability for small things and working your way up. For example, instead of taking accountability for a big event, try a small responsibility such as going to work every day. Good attendance at work will make your boss realize that you're a dependable employee.

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Start Taking Accountability Today!

We've answered the question: what is personal accountability? We've also shared a personal accountability definition and some practical steps to help you take accountability for your actions.

It’s not easy to take accountability for your actions, especially if you know the consequences of those actions. But the benefits outweigh the negatives. If you blame others for your failures, you won’t learn from them and improve. To be the most successful person you can be, you need to take accountability for your actions and responsibilities.

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