Most people get confused between the terms accountability and responsibility as they are seemingly similar. But there is a significant difference between the two, and if you are unaware of it, this article is for you.
The key difference between accountability and responsibility is that the latter can be shared, but the former is personal.
We have broken down both the concepts and covered them individually in this article for clarity.
Let’s begin without further delay.
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Individual accountability is a concept that develops after an event has occurred. It’s about accepting responsibility for your actions and making sure you do what you say you’ll do. It can also be defined as how a person reacts when a task they’ve been assigned goes awry.
As a result, it is more concerned with the repercussions of someone’s actions than with their initial responsibility to carry out these actions. Accepting responsibility for the result, whether favorable or poor and doing all possible to fix the situation are also part of it.
So, even if numerous people are responsible for completing a task, just one of them is usually responsible for the repercussions.
Unlike accountability, responsibility is not limited to a single person, and multiple people can share it. For example, a team may be jointly responsible for delivering a project or the management of a situation.
Further, it arises from a superior-subordinate relationship, in which the junior is obligated to complete the work given to him by the senior. However, assigning responsibility to your team is impossible since it should come from within and cannot be imposed. So, if you’re in charge of anything, it’s your responsibility to do the tasks assigned to you.
However, it should be noted that it does not emerge at any particular point; instead, it is there throughout the procedure.
Differences are best understood when appropriately contrasted. Here is a table to give you more clarity on the difference-
It is a condition in which a person is expected to take ownership of their actions.
It is the duty to deliver or complete the tasks assigned.
It is personal.
It can be associated with a group of people.
The person accepts accountability.
Responsibility is assigned to a person.
It cannot be delegated.
It can be delegated.
It is not an obligation and a matter of choice.
It is usually an obligation and not a matter of choice.
It comes into the picture after the situation or task is over.
It is in place while a person or team is working towards the goal.
It is result-focused.
It is task-focused.