Originally published in Long Island Business News. Donna Sirianni is CEO of Moving Forward Strategies,…
In the workplace, the words “accountability” and “responsibility” get tossed around frequently and are often used interchangeably—and incorrectly. A surprising number of people don’t know that accountability vs responsibility portrays very different concepts, both of which are crucial to productivity, improvement and long-term success. In this article, we’ll outline the difference between accountability and responsibility and highlight how each contributes to the growth of your business and personal achievements. We’ll underscore the importance of remaining responsible while simultaneously enforcing accountability for the tasks you’ve undertaken. When you’ve got a grasp on how these two concepts work synergistically, you’ll be able to recognize areas of improvement within your own life and within the operations of your business.
Responsibility: Do Your Job
To be responsible is to complete tasks that have been assigned to you. You can be individually responsible for reaching a goal or responsibility can be shared amongst a team, wherein different tasks are completed with a similar outcome in mind. In practice, responsibility involves tangible results, not intrinsic factors. While being responsible can lead to the accomplishment of tasks, it doesn’t necessarily signify that tasks are done conscientiously. As a leader, you want to ensure that your employees care about the work that they’re doing, and that you hold yourself accountable for the quality of their work.]
Accountability: Take Pride in Your Work
When you hear “accountability,” you might think in terms of punishment or consequence. This doesn’t have to be the case. Think of holding yourself accountable as a source of empowerment; a way to take pride in the work that you are completing, even when the outcome isn’t what you’d hoped for. Holding your team accountable allows for less excuses when things go wrong and more motivation to improve. How can you keep your team accountable? It helps to convey clear expectations, maintain thorough communication, and embrace and openly evaluate mistakes. How can you hold yourself accountable? Set clear goals for yourself, assess your mistakes, and actively make changes.
Implementing Accountability in the Workplace
Responsibility and accountability are different and necessary in the workplace. Responsibility is what facilitates production. You are responsible for a myriad of tasks each day, and the completion of these tasks ensures that you are a responsible individual. However, holding yourself or your employees accountable for the outcome of said tasks is what facilitates growth. Accountability signifies ownership of results, which can boost motivation, collaboration and more efficient progress.
If you think that these concepts could be better enforced within your organization, try making feedback a priority—both positive and negative. Providing regular, individualized feedback to employees ensures that they understand and embrace their accountability for the jobs that they are doing. In turn, you will assume accountability for the growth and productivity of your team.
To hold yourself more accountable, first adjust your mindset and ensure you have a clear goal in mind. Write down why this goal is important to you and exactly what you need to do to attain it. Keep these ideas in mind while undertaking your responsibilities.
Understanding the difference between accountability vs responsibility is crucial to the improvement of your business and yourself. With accountability comes pride, efficiency and collaboration. Actively implementing strategies that let individual employees feel accountable for their work will prove to be an integral factor in your business’s success.