Accountability Step 3: Personal Responsibility

Jackie Zach
May 17, 2024

Once you’ve gotten your mindset right (Step 1) and set clear expectations that you and your employee both understand (Step 2) it is now time to get down to the nitty gritty. Part of being willing to be held accountable is to take personal responsibility to get the job done. Once the groundwork is laid and everyone understands what’s expected and how success is measured, the question that needs to be asked of yourself and each team member is, “Are you willing to take personal responsibility to get the task done, create the result that is expected, etc.”

There is something about the words “personal responsibility” versus just “responsibility” that triggers something inside of all of us. What happens when you say to yourself, “I am going to take personal responsibility for getting X result in my company”? How do you feel? Empowered? Excited? Daunted? In control? Accountable? There is a sense of pride in taking ownership of the commitments you make. Your employees are no different. According to an article on Indeed entitled, Personal Responsibility: importance, attributes and benefits ( “Employees with a strong sense of responsibility are likely to show more commitment to their organization, feel more secure in their roles and have greater job satisfaction.” In addition, when the entire organization has a culture of taking personal responsibility, it is more likely that each team member will have greater autonomy because there is an expectation that each team member can be counted on to do what they say they’re going to do.

You may be asking yourself where do I start? As always, it starts with you, the owner. How good are you at taking personal responsibility? One way to begin to evaluate that for yourself is to look at your daily interactions. Are you blaming, making excuses or in denial about the decisions, culture and results in your organization or are you taking ownership, accountability and responsibility for the decisions, culture, and results?

Once you’ve evaluated yourself and decided to take personal responsibility, then it is time to help the rest of the team. The easiest way to begin is to ask each of your direct reports (who will eventually filter it to the rest of the organization), “Are you willing to take personal responsibility for XY and Z?” If the answer is “yes” that gives you permission to help them stay on track to do what they said they would do, in other words hold them accountable. If the answer is “no”, that is definitely a red flag and a topic for another time.

The beauty and simplicity of this idea is that it starts with a decision by each person to take personal responsibility for their work and life. Imagine all the wonderful things that you and your championship team could accomplish together starting with this one idea. I’m excited by the possibilities for you!