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Examples Of Accountability

By Darren Finkelstein
By Darren Finkelstein

The Accountability Guy®

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Table of Contents

What is an example of accountability?

So you admit you made an error!

Mistakes happen. Even if you are completely focused on the task at hand, at some point you’re going to drop the ball. Everyone makes mistakes.

In some cases, you can fix your mistake and carry on. However, when you are working on a major project, a mistake can be very costly. It can cause financial and reputational loss to your employer and may put your job on the line.

There are other consequences that you may need to deal with including legal issues, putting yourself and your colleagues in the way of a health hazard, or endangering relationship with a big client. And that’s why it is important to hold yourself accountable to mitigate risk and developing a sense of responsibility.

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Taking responsibility and owning it

Accountability is what separates leaders from followers. Leaders lead by example by taking responsibility for the outcomes of their actions and their decisions. Here is how you can be accountable:

  • If you think a mistake has been made, let your superior know immediately.
  • Don’t ever cover up your mistake. It may prevent immediate backlash but in the long run, you will put yourself in an even worse situation. At workplaces, it’s next to impossible to sweep your mistakes under the rug.
  • Owning your mistake will demonstrate professionalism, a trait every employer values.
  • Owning your mistake will build a culture of accountability in your company.

Identify where you went wrong

Being a professional, whenever you drop the ball, it’s your responsibility to find out the root cause. By honestly identifying the root cause, you will be able to confront your issues. Take the following steps to identify what went wrong.

  • The most important thing is to focus on the core issue.
  • Dig deep to uncover the real issue(s).
  • Discuss the findings with a superior or your team members.
  • Determine the best action plan to solve the problem.

As we all know, accountability means doing things you said you are going to do and getting your team to do the same!

In a team-oriented environment, it is usual for more than one person to work on the same thing and they could be responsible for the error. While people like to take up credit for the success, they are nowhere to be seen once the things go south. They are reluctant to own their mistakes. Even if a mistake is not entirely your fault, it won’t be productive to point fingers at others amidst this unfortunate situation.

What can be done next time?

  • Don’t multitask

Always focus on your tasks and projects first. Make them a priority and avoid any distractions that take you away from your work. It is also crucial to avoid multitasking. Don’t juggle more balls than you can handle i.e. only commit to the jobs you are reasonably certain of completing within the given time frame.


If you try to do too many things at once, odds are that you won’t get any of it right.

  • Never repeat the same mistake

Repeating the same mistake over and over again means you’re not learning and that’s going to stall your professional growth. It is very important to learn from your past experiences, especially the unfortunate ones. If you refuse to learn, you will most probably make the same mistake again, and face adverse consequences which may put your career in jeopardy.

  • Create a checklist

To-do list or a checklist is the easiest way to prevent mistakes from happening. A checklist can help you put forward a plan of action. Once you have everything written down, you can follow the list and act according to the steps. It is extremely important to include every detail in a logical order and avoid skipping anything that could cause a problem.

  • Know your job

It is critical to know your role in a project. If you are not sure about your role in the team, you are likely to make all sorts of mistakes. Talk to your teammates and superiors to gain an insight in terms of what your role is going to be and prepare yourself for the task.

  • Review your actions

Before committing to any job, always review your plan of action. A well-thought-out plan is more likely to put you on the path of success. Jot down your plans on a piece paper, think about the effectiveness of your strategy and make the required changes. It’ll help you in delivering on your commitment.


Mistakes are a part of life. Even the most experienced people make terrible mistakes. However, successful people are at the top because they have learnt to hold themselves accountable. The beauty of it all lies in your ability to come out of trouble with your head held high and the mistake being a learning a part of your learning curve. Remember, every problem has a solution. If you can’t find it, then you need to think out of the box. Asking for help is never a bad idea. At the end of the day, every bad experience is vital, as it shapes you into a stronger, wiser, and better person.
Only if you are willing to own it. Be responsible. Be accountable.