What is Accountability and Why Does it Matter?

Accountability essentially means ‘being held responsible for the things you do’. It’s essentially a form of responsibility that basically means ‘the buck stops with you’ and it’s actually incredibly important. Here we will look at what accountability really means in terms of psychology and at why it’s so important.

Examples of Accountability

An example of accountability might be going to work and heading up a project, then stating that you take full responsibility for the outcome. This is basically you going out on a limb and saying that you will take the flack should anything go wrong.

Likewise, accountability might mean putting yourself forward as a politician and stating that it is your mission to make sure X happens. You will be held accountable if it does not. Immediately it’s clear to see that accountability has value for the larger community and for those that you work with and for. It means that you’re taking responsibility for your actions and this prevents you from taking advantage of your position. But it’s also very important for you.

Accountability and Achieving Goals

Let’s take the example of achieving goals for instance. Say you want to get into shape within a certain timeframe. Now normally you might write this down somewhere and then work quietly towards that goal. In this scenario, you have no accountability – you haven’t told anyone what you’re going to do and you’re not going to face any repercussions if you fail. In fact, you probably won’t even be accountable to yourself really. Why? Because if you fail you’ll probably make some kind of excuse.

But now imagine a different scenario, where you announce to your family and friends that you’re going to lose weight, you tell them that they shouldn’t accept any excuses from you and you give yourself some kind of penalization if you don’t accomplish them.

Now you’re accountable and you’ll find that you suddenly are much more motivated to accomplish said goal. This way, accountability has just made you much more productive and drive.

How to Bring Accountability Into Your Life

With all that in mind, it’s very important to start bringing more accountability into your own life. Not only will you find that people respect you more for taking the flack and for standing up for what you believe and what you intend to do – but it will also result in you being more productive and ultimately happier as a result.

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