This is a story of four employees – Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. An important job had to be done. Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it; but Nobody did it.
Essentially, the job didn’t get done because no one was willing to be accountable.
According to Professor Emeritus Marcia Rachel, accountability is about building credibility. She states, “Accountability is an energizing force throughout an organization. Where a culture of accountability exists, people do what they say they’ll do. In contrast, an organization lacking accountability is full of excuses for not meeting objectives.”
So, what does personal accountability entail?
- Have specific professional goals in place
Having a clear picture of what we want to achieve is the first step to accountability. But, as the saying goes, a goal without a timeline is just a dream. Create a roadmap for achieving larger goals like higher sales, profits, up-skilling, etc., that are further broken down into time-bound tasks. Also, it is vital to make sure each smaller goal aligns your own growth with the company’s overall business objectives.
- Identify and leverage your strengths
Identifying your core competencies is another way to improve accountability. For example, if you’re the best designer in your team or are known for adhering to deadlines, use these strengths to your advantage. Try volunteering to own these tasks by assisting with design assignments or creating project timelines for the team. Doing so not only hones your own talent but supports the team in meeting group objectives effectively.
- Work on what you can learn
It also helps to be aware of the skills we aren’t strong at, as this provides opportunities for improvement. Find out what those skills are for you, or what skills you would like to be better at, and create a practice schedule. Whether it is learning to develop a new skill, app, tool, or even managerial traits, be proactive by signing up for a workshop or asking peers for help and feedback. Let people know you are learning.
- Set rewards for micro-achievements
Transitioning to an accountable mindset is a long-term exercise and hence, can be daunting. To stay motivated, establish a routine of rewarding yourself for small achievements. Additionally, when you hit significant milestones, share it with your team members or even your managers. This promotes a feeling of satisfaction and showcases your progress in the workplace.
- Review progress at regular intervals
It’s important to keep your eye on the bigger picture. We suggest consistently evaluating your progress – whether in terms of micro-goals achieved or new skills learnt – to make sure you’re on the right path towards achieving larger professional goals. This step allows for course correction too.
As someone rightly said, “The moment you take accountability for your life is the moment you gain the power to change anything.” Becoming accountable helps you perform better and succeed in any pursuit, personal or professional.