In the blog “What really is accountability,” I shared that the terms accountability and responsibility are used interchangeably even though they are different.   As a reminder: 

Responsibility is all about what you are responsible for doing, and accountability is about having to answer for the outcome of our decisions, work, mistakes, and actions.  

Responsibility is task-oriented, whereas accountability is people-oriented.  

Today I want to chat about how to hold others accountable. 


Holding others accountable

Here is the thing, we can’t hold others accountable. 

People have to choose to be accountable or not. They decide to be accountable people. Or not.  

However, you can inspire people to choose to be accountable. 

To do that, you have to be accountable first.  

All accountability starts with yourself. If those around you are not accountable, check first with yourself and see if you are modeling accountability. 

If you are, then set up boundaries and enforce them.  

If you are not, then before you can ask others to be accountable, you have to become accountable first.     

It starts with you

Accountability is about people. It is about acceptance/ownership of the results of all actions/activities that contributed to attaining or failing an intended goal.  

To be accountable, you need to be truthful with others and uphold your or the company’s values. You need to accept your mis-takes (and celebrate your successes) and feel safe enough to speak honestly and openly. 

Let me say that again. To be accountable, you need to be truthful, live your values, accept your mis-takes, and feel safe sharing your thoughts and opinions. 

How can you ask others to be accountable if you find it hard to do that? If you are not willing to admit and own your mistakes and your faults, how can you expect others to?  

You can’t.  

Therefore accountability starts with you.  

Accountability is powerful. It produces positive outcomes and allows you to create a good reputation for yourself and your company. However, it requires us to commit to being accountable people and leaders. 

Will you commit? 

One of the most important actions, things a leader can do, is to lead by example. If you want everyone else to be passionate, committed, dedicated, and motivated, you go first!

Cory Booker

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