Management Mastery: Individuals, Personal effectiveness

Talking about accountability at work

If you are prepared to take personal accountability at work, how do you talk about that? We have already defined the difference between responsibility and accountability, and now we know that what most people call the latter is actually the former. It’s easier to discuss how you will perform within the context of what you or others must do or are assigned to do, rather than what you are prepared to do.

So what about the personal accountability context of what you are choosing to do? Since it’s a personal decision, do you need to tell people anything at all?

The answer is no.

Accountability at work is not something you tell people about and carry any weight. It is only ever something you demonstrate through your actions and decisions.


Remember that accepting full accountability of everything that happens under your watch is an incredible thing to do. If you are a manager, you should do this whenever possible. However, it is a personal decision. You may not decide to take on that level of accountability, for whatever reason.

For situations in which you do decide to be 100% accountable, you don’t have to mention anything to anyone about it. Accountability is something you can rise to the occasion for. Once you make the decision to be accountable, then you can be mentally prepared. Look for the opportunities. Then, act in the moment.

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