Why Is accountability Important? If you are confused about the difference between accountability, responsibility, and integrity, you are not alone. This article will explain the differences to you. It will help you to understand the importance and benefits of being accountable both in your personal life and at work.
Accountability vs Responsibility vs Integrity – Why is Accountability Important?
To some people accountability can have a bad reputation. A heavy-handed boss, co-worker, friend, family member, or Government authority can misuse this term of accountability to place blame, point fingers and even apply punishment to another. This is not accountability. To understand the importance and benefits of accountability, we need to understand what accountability is and what it is not.
- Accountability. It is when you take ownership and make a commitment for a select outcome. Specifically, you have a plan to implement what you promised, and you own the results of the outcome. Also, accountability is about you or someone else putting measurements in place to gauge the success or failure of the outcome.
- Responsibility vs. Accountability. Accountability is not synonymous with responsibility. In particular, the main difference between the two terms is that you can share responsibility or delegate it while accountability cannot.
- Integrity vs. Accountability. In many ways these terms go hand in hand. For instance, accountability is focused on ownership, empowerment, and outcomes where integrity is more of a personal attribute. Integrity describes a person who makes the choice to commit to honesty before being faced with choosing between right and wrong.
See Culturewise’s Why Accountability is the Most Important Part of Your Company Culture Bizfluent’s Importance of Accountability & Integrity in Workplace, and Lacking Integrity – What Is It and How To Detect It In a Person? for more on accountability, responsibility, and integrity.
The Benefits – Why Is It Important To Be Accountable?
Accountability benefits both your personal life and organizations.
Accountability Benefits in our Personal Life and Relationships.
You are more happy when there is:
- Less Blame. If we all strive to be more accountable in our personal lives, we will spend less time and energy blaming others.
- Less Conflict. All relationships will have conflict, but without accountability conflict can be both destructive and drawn out. With accountability, conflicts can be quickly resolved and constructively result in strengthening relationships. Without accountability you can get upset about another person’s actions, but then you end up waiting. You wait for the person to fix it, to apologize, or change. This can be a long wait until the conflict is resolved.
- Less Frustration. Without accountability in our lives we can easily get frustrated and feel like the victim in many situations. We can blame others and easily get in the mindset of “He or she made me do it” or caused the situation. When in fact, we are responsible for our choices, no matter what the circumstances. With accountability, we take steps to improve matters, or, at a minimum, change our perspective about the situation.
- More Confident / Builds Trust. When a person owns the commitments and goals that they have made, have the plans to implement the goals, and owns the results, they will be more confident in the things they do. When people are confident and accountable, this builds trust in relationships
Accountability Benefits Within Organizations.
Organizations with accountability work better and do better at achieving their purpose. Organization accountability benefits include:
- Better Customer Service. All Governments, businesses, and organizations serve someone be it customers, stakeholders, or citizens. Without accountability in the organization, customer service suffers. A “tell-tale” example of organizations lacking accountability is when their customer service routinely blames other departments. Worse, customer service will even blame the customer for their own problem. Indeed, the customer service agents will routinely pass their customers to other departments with no follow-up or closure for the customer.
- Higher Quality. With accountability, organizations provide better products and services. Quality improves with good work processes, but it also improves when people care, take ownership, and are accountable for their work and products.
- Higher Productivity. When people in organizations are accountable for their work and actions, they will get more done. When you raise accountability, you raise productivity.
- Builds Trust / Branding. Accountability breeds trust both within the organization as well as with customers and stakeholders. Accountability is based on open communications where individuals in the organization stand by their decisions and actions. With accountability, everyone affiliated with the organization knows the rules, they are applied equality, and there is transparency. Accountability builds brand and trust for any organization.
See Kevineikenberry Blog Why is accountability important?, TickThoseBox’s Why is Being Accountable so Important? and Forbes’ Why Accountability Is Critical For Achieving Winning Results for more on the benefits of accountability.
Writer and Supply Chain Tech Expert. Passionate about giving actionable insights on information technology, business, innovation, creativity, and life in general.