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Own it: Take personal accountability to work!

By Darren Finkelstein
By Darren Finkelstein

The Accountability Guy®

Home » Accountability » Own it: Take personal accountability to work!

A shift in personality traits to being accountable at work means that you are responsible, self-disciplined, and transparent. You would learn to develop a road map and smaller milestones to ensure that you meet your target at the end on time. As we navigate our professional lives, it can be easy to fall into a pattern of blame-shifting and pointing fingers when things go wrong. We may feel the urge to deflect responsibility, believing it is someone else’s problem to fix. However, taking personal accountability for our work is crucial for success in the workplace. It allows us to own our actions and decisions, builds trust among colleagues and managers, and fosters a culture of responsibility. Before we discuss how we can use personal accountability to work, let us first understand personal accountability.

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What is personal accountability?

Personal accountability means owning our work, our successes, and our mistakes. It involves taking responsibility for our actions and their positive or negative outcomes. It means being honest with us and others about what we have done and what we need to do to make things right. One of the key benefits of personal accountability is that it builds trust. When we take ownership of our work, we demonstrate to others that we are reliable and trustworthy. We show that we are committed to doing what we say we will and willing to take responsibility for our actions. Personal accountability helps to foster positive relationships with colleagues and managers, leading to a more collaborative and productive work environment. Personal accountability allows us to learn and grow from our mistakes. When we take ownership of our mistakes, we can better identify what went wrong and how to improve. This improvement leads to personal and professional growth, making us better at our jobs and more effective in our roles. 

So, how can we take personal accountability to work?

1. Be proactive

Take initiative and seek ways to contribute to the organization’s success. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you what to do – take ownership of your work and act. Being proactive helps as it will allow you to bring solutions beforehand; you will be prepared for any challenges at any given time. Proactive behaviour encourages more brainstorming sessions with your team or your bosses.  

2. Set goals

Set clear goals for yourself and track your progress. Hold yourself accountable for meeting these goals and take responsibility for any setbacks. As you are setting goals for yourself or your team, include them and understand the challenges before; this is when you prepare the road map or smaller milestones to measure your performance and monitor your progress.

3. Communicate effectively

Communicate clearly and regularly with your colleagues and managers. Keep them informed about your progress, ask for help when needed, and offer feedback to others. Communication is essential in building better understanding amongst the team members and avoiding confusion and misunderstanding. 

4. Seek feedback

Be open to input from others and use it to improve your work. Take constructive criticism as an opportunity to learn and grow. Feedback plays a crucial role in everyone’s growth and development; therefore, acceptance of feedback is also part of personal accountability, as it will demonstrate how eager you are to learn about your mistakes and to learn from them.  

5. Take ownership of mistakes

When things go wrong, take ownership of your mistakes. Be honest with yourself and others about what went wrong and what you can do to make things right. Ownership is the main factor in building a better, respectful, and trustworthy environment at work. Therefore, as a part of your accountability, if you learn to take ownership of your decisions, then people around you will respect you and allow you to learn from your mistakes.  

6. Celebrate successes

Celebrate your successes and take pride in your work. Recognize the contributions of others and acknowledge the role they played in your success. Rewarding and celebrating success gives motivation to every employee. So, as a manager, you must boost your employees’ motivation and enthusiasm.  


In conclusion, taking personal accountability for our work is essential for success in the workplace. It allows us to build trust, learn and grow from our mistakes, and contribute to a positive work environment. By owning our work and taking responsibility for our actions, we demonstrate to others that we are reliable and trustworthy, leading to stronger relationships with colleagues and managers. So, let’s own our work and take personal accountability to work – it’s the key to success in the workplace. Accountability is an important lesson that doesn’t only help you in your professional life but also your personal life. Personal accountability can help you lead your team with the best examples at work regarding transparency, performance, leadership, ownership, proactive behaviour, and goal-oriented attitude.