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01 col Careers

People who practise personal accountability tend to stand out in any organisation. Their relationship with the company is one of contributing towards its goals and they answer for the success or failure of their own work.

But how and why does personal accountability really matter?

To understand this, consider how often you have had to rely on someone else’s work to proceed with your own tasks. More often than you thought, right? Employees that are personally accountable are aware of this and realise that the quality of their work will impact the rest of the organisation. This realisation is the reason why they adhere to standards in their work and feel uncomfortable if those standards are not met. They may even tell a colleague if the quality of their work has dropped or improved. By being open to criticism, employees who practise personal accountability are willing to answer for their successes or failures, accepting praise when they succeed and responsibility when they fail without trying to shift the blame or make excuses for poor results.

To be personally accountable, an employee has to understand the input and output of every task and his place in the ‘assembly line’. Work received may be considered input and after a series of processes the result will be the employee’s output. But that same output will in turn become input for another member of the organisation, or a final product or service for a customer or client. If the quality of work suffers, it affects everyone in the queue.

In the workplace, feedback may come from supervisors, co-workers, subordinates or even customers. Personal accountability means having the confidence and courage to answer for the success or failure of your own work and take responsibility for any feedback. You need not be reluctant to be proud of success nor should you be reluctant to shoulder the blame for a failure. After all, it is personal accountability that fosters teamwork and connects everyone in an organisation.

– S Ali Anis

The writer is lead consultant and trainer at Change180. info@thechange180.com

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on December 16, 2012.