Accountability in the workplace has skyrocketed to become an elite tool any worker can add to corporate culture. Organizations love to talk about it, leaders preach it, and employees claim to have it. Yet, there is too much confusion over what the word accountability really means.

Simply put, accountability is the ability to transform a commitment into a result. All of us aspire to make valuable contributions and see our efforts recognized. Yet it is accountability that turns these actions into concrete and valuable outputs. It is the ownership of the success of all team members: your role, and everyone else’s.

Let’s see some accountability examples

(1) Responsibility vs Accountability

Responsibility is having a clearly defined role, and making sure your tasks are completely orderly and on time. Accountability is the commitment to assure the overall completion of all roles.

Responsibility is managing your part of the overall goal, while accountability is overseeing the completion of the bigger task.

(2) Accountability is not the effort

Effort is fantastic — but effort does not equate to completion. Accountability is the results or delivery of a project.

(3) Accountability is not personal success.

In all team projects there will be problems and mistakes. Individual accountability is taking ownership of all mistakes, and finding a different way to collective success.

Accountability is the completion of all tasks, the team results.

(4) Accountability follows the role

If you accept the role, you accept accountability, it does not follow individual activities. Accountability is ownership; you are a point of reference for others. Real accountability leaders take action — actions that speak so loudly that their words are superfluous.

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