It’s pretty common to hear employees claim that,” I am accountable. I follow through with what I say I am going to do.”

That’s a good start, but it really doesn’t tell the whole story of what accountability really is. Companies are full of employees who “check the box” and yet, executives still complain about the accountability crisis among the rank and file. Accountability is more than just following through on a task-list. It is a mind-set that includes forward -thinking, embracing continuous learning, and focusing on growth.

Two behaviors that exemplify an accountable mindset are

Asking for constructive feedback.

Embracing change.

Accountable employees regularly ask for constructive feedback.

Business’ generate information and receive feedback in real time. Long gone are the days where “No News is Good News.”  Companies need agile contributors that can act, measure their results, accept feedback, and make their next move quickly. If accountable employee aren’t getting feedback on how to improve, they seek it out.

And, they don’t just ask their supervisors for feedback.  They ask their direct reports. They ask their peers. They even ask their customers. Accountable employees seek out a 360-degree view and review their performance from multiple perspectives in order to get a complete picture on how to grow and develop more fully.

Accountable employees embrace change.

Change is an opportunity to create more effective processes, build better products, and improve business efficiencies. Companies can’t afford to stop changing because they know the competition won’t. Failure to continue evolving will quickly render the company out-dated and cause them to lose their competitive advantage. Change is inevitable.

Companies need accountable employees to embrace the change and yes, drive the change. Having said that accountable employees don’t have to necessarily like every corporate decision. In fact, they don’t even have to agree with every decision. They do, however, have to do their job and work to make the implementation as successful as possible.

Want to be a valuable employee or a respected leader?   You have to do more than just the minimum required to get the job done.  You need to think proactively, appreciate the gift of feedback, and continuously look for ways to make positive impacts through  action. In short, you have to be accountable.


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