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How accountable are you?

Are you responsible or accountable?

By Darren Finkelstein
By Darren Finkelstein

The Accountability Guy®

Home » Are you responsible or accountable?

This blog has been written to highlight workplace obligations.

The underlying principles undoubtedly apply in other parts of our lives, but we’ll limit the examples to business to keep this topic relevant to our readers.

When it comes to workplace obligations, I’d say there are two words that are very closely related. They aren’t quite synonyms and misunderstanding that can lead to conflict and confusion when assigning or assuming what your role on the team is.

The two words are Accountable and Responsible.
They don’t mean exactly the same thing. Here’s the difference:

To be responsible means to be answerable for something within one’s power or control. Notice the two aspects of this definition – the ability to control plus being able to answer for something.

To be accountable means to be subject to giving an account or having the obligation to report, explain or justify something. There is no aspect of power nor control in this definition. But there is an expectation.

Let me outline the difference with an example.

I am a business owner. That means I have a certain degree of control over everything that happens in the business. I am the one who is ultimately responsible for every decision made and every action taken by every person who works here.

Because I have that power, I have to answer for what we do.

There are, however, others who work with me in say marketing, communications, administrative and in training roles. They are not responsible, ultimately, but they are accountable. Work is assigned to them, and they are then obligated to do the work and to be able to report back on it.

This results in two major differences in the work I do and the work they do.

First, they walk away at the end of their workday and are able to leave it all behind. I can’t because – I am answerable to every client and to each employee.

The second difference is in the reporting. I don’t have anyone to report to, at least not formally. I can do what I choose on any given workday, but the others who work here are bound by the work they are accountable for producing.

Said another way, when you are responsible you have a degree of ownership and personal investment. The outcomes are what you must focus on because what you are called to answer for is within your control.

When you are accountable, you are more task-focused.

If you like what your reading and this resonates with you, as your ‘Accountability Coach’ I’ll keep you on track, so you keep those promises and commitments made to others and yourself.

If we do this right, you’ll increase your sales, service your clients better, make more money and work fewer hours. Now you can spend it with those that are most important and not doing work.

Visit my website to find how we can work together: https://tickthoseboxes.com.au

If you need help with your business, I work with entrepreneurial business owners, executives and their teams to ensure full accountability so they can meet obligations, promises and commitments made to others and themselves. My name is Darren Finkelstein: Accountability Coach, Business Advisor and Presenter.

Visit my website for more info https://tickthoseboxes.com.au or reach out to us at questions@tickthoseboxes.com.au