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Accountability: How to take ownership of responsibility

By Darren Finkelstein
By Darren Finkelstein

The Accountability Guy®

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Accountability has been the most crucial factor behind any business’s growth and success. We have been discussing accountability for weeks now, and we have understood how it impacts our culture in the organization, result-oriented and proactive behavior, employee engagement, and good dynamics in teamwork. We have also discussed the positive implications of accountability on taking responsibility and ownership. Today’s blog will discuss how we can take ownership of our responsibilities. We all know that accountability and responsibility are two different things, but accountability is driven by responsibility. So, before we go into detail, let us understand what ownership and responsibility are. How different are both from accountability and yet have an impact on the accountable actions of an individual or team?

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What is responsibility?

Most of us often need clarification with accountability and responsibility. Accountability involves responsible behavior, ownership, proactive thinking, and others. Whereas responsibility mainly means that you understand the duties you have performed and ensure that you deliver them on time. One could also add roles of ownership within the parameters of responsibility. But now, let’s look at what ownership is.

What is ownership?

As mentioned earlier, accountability involves taking ownership of your decisions and acknowledging your failures or mistakes. Then you must be thinking, what is ownership? How is ownership any different from accountability? If we define ownership, we can easily say that you have understood your expected performance and expected results, and you take a stand for your failures or mistakes. People often play blame games at work and point their errors to other responsibilities.

That’s what we are preaching here that you take ownership of your failures and mistakes. It would be best if you took ownership of all the duties or responsibilities that you have to perform under your job role. You take ownership of all the duties you have achieved professionally or personally. Now, let us look at how one can take ownership of responsibilities.

How to take ownership of responsibilities?

Accountable behavior promotes good standards of ownership qualities. As an individual or a team member, you begin to understand the importance of your performance on the company’s growth and performance, your inputs for the project’s implementation, and proactive behavior to overall challenges and meet targets. So, let us look at the essential responsibilities and how you could take ownership.

Understand your role in the organization

We always talk about clarity and how you can contribute to the organization’s success. So, once you have that understanding, then you are aware of the responsibilities that you have to deliver. That’s how you will know what and how you have performed under your job requirements. Learn to stand for your own mistakes and failures.

Understand your role in the team

You are working on a project with your team members and have understood your duties per your job title. But it is equally important to understand what role the team is. How you contribute to the overall team’s performance. Understand the team member’s strengths and weaknesses and cooperate with each other’s emotions. Develop strong and healthy relationships with the team members and try to learn from each other. Support each other in decisions and learn to stand for the team’s failures or mistakes.

Understand your role as a manager

If the organization hires you as a manager or leader of the team or the organization. Understand that you are the key personnel to creating a culture of accountability in the group and organization. You are the role model to whom all the employees would look up. It would help if you stood up for your team and self’s failures. It would be best if you created transparency and an open-door policy in the organization. You must demonstrate responsible behavior at all times. You must encourage employees to accept their mistakes and failures and not blame others. You must teach them to build and maintain a healthy relationship with everyone at work. As a manager, hire an external coach to train your team members about accountability and its importance. It would be best to teach them the importance of feedback and proactive behavior.

Understand planning and brainstorming for targets

As a manager or as an employee, understand that if you plan your road map for your targets in advance will help you achieve it; schedule brainstorming sessions with your peers or team member, or manager to discuss the possible challenges and then how to solve it. These responsibilities if you plan these, then you can work in a better manner.


Accountability encourages ownership, responsible and proactive behavior, and a respectful and trustworthy environment at work and amongst team members. So, if you have understood your role as an employee, team member, and manager, you are aware of your responsibilities at work. This way will allow you to take control of your duties or ownership of the responsibilities that you are required to perform.