Accountability is a word always heard at work. We are being asked to accept additional responsibilities most of us have never imagined would become ours. But as employees, we have the choice to take on or reject these responsibilities.

Accountability Is Freedom

Many of us feel compelled to take on additional responsibility. Why? Because accountability is a conscious process, not automatic. As humans, we decide “what’s in it for me” and measure the action against our past history and experiences.

To be accountable means to be responsible for what one does, and then be subjected to judgment, or even punishment. Accountability and responsibility are based on freedom. Where there is freedom, there is accountability. Where there is no freedom, there is no accountability. Let me explain.

We know that choices and actions are related to each other. When a person has freedom and is accountable, we expect certain behaviors with in definite circumstances. If those expected behaviors do not occur, we hold the person accountable. On the other hand, the person who is not free to choose is also not required to act, nor is he held accountable when he does not act. Thus, accountability sits on the foundation of freedom of choice.

Accountability Is Courage

Accountability requires courage and discipline. We have a natural tendency to avoid additional responsibilities because we do not want to be embarrassed in the event we do not know how to do something. It is also natural for humans to feel unprotected when having to face the consequences of our actions. As professionals, we need loads of courage and discipline when claiming our piece of responsibility.

Managing Failure

Remember that failure to meet an objective is OK if you give your team and senior management as much notice as possible as to why it happened, how the situation can be corrected, and you have the courage to ask for help. Approaching failure is demonstrating accountability.

Areas For Improvement

Since organizations are transferring more accountability to employees at all levels, how well are you doing? Do you need additional assistance or training in these areas?

  • What are the overall business goals of the organization?
  • How do your responsibilities contribute to the business goals?
  • Do your responsibilities and your team’s contribute to the bottom-line? How?
  • Are your projects meeting the needs of the organization?
  • Are you taking the time to plan and measure return on investment?
  • Do you effectively communicate to senior management?
  • Are you able to write reports that justify your projects?
  • Do you know where to go to get training?
  • Do you ask for help?

Being an accountable employee delivers numerous business benefits and inspires more creativity and innovation within you. You will find the results well worth the effort.

Michele Wierzgac, MSEd, speaker and author, promises that you will leave her solution-driven keynotes and workshops with at least one passionate, life transforming, leadership tool – something that will change the way you seek out a solution and practically apply it without getting stuck.

Email Michele at or give her a call at (708) 710-7055!