Being Accountable

Are you up for a challenge to make your workplace better? If so, I am going to offer you 3 simple responses that if they become natural for and lived by everyone, then everything will change. Whenever you are asked (perhaps even told) to do something, look the other person in the eye and say:

  • I own this task.
  • I will act upon it.
  • I will answer for my actions and results.

For years, Linda Gallindo has been preaching this message. She has become one the precious experts in the field of Accountability. And as she repeats and repeats, accountability is a function of agreeing to own, taking action, and committing to answer. Own, act, answer… own, act, answer. It is not complicated. So, ask yourself how much more time and less drama would you have at work if everyone around you always owned, acted on, and answered for their work. No excuses or BS. Would it be a better place?

Now, this does not mean perfection will occur. Nope, there will still be miscues and screw ups. But rather than coming in and hearing a bunch of blaming from the one who did not deliver, what if you heard.

I owned that and I did not deliver as agreed. Despite a number of challenging circumstances, I did not do everything I could to overcome them, including asking for help or more clarification. Here is what happened, Here is what I learned. Here is what I will do different going forward. Here is what I need to learn to be better next time.

Might this make your role as a leader more productive and reduce the angst of another argument with someone who dropped the ball.

So, if you want to create a work environment with this kind of accountability, I have one question and one thou-shalt. The question – are you willing to go first and model the own, act, answer for behavior? Are you willing to confess a miss and answer for it publicly? Or, is your reputation and ego to be protected at all times, resulting in blaming other people or circumstances for the miss? If you are unwilling to model accountability, don’t expect anyone else to either, no matter how far you back them in a corner.

The “thou-shalt’ – be as clear as possible on what you are agreeing to own, act on, and answer for. Are you agreeing to develop a solution to a major issue or finding and implementing a solution that works. (There is a huge difference between those two things.) Are you agreeing to own an outcome on a decision that you are not allowed to make. Watch out for that. know what you are committing to.

Be as clear as you can be. Better to spend upfront time clarifying the various expectations (small and large) than afterwards in a shouting match about who’s at fault.


Share Your Thoughts