Accountability means the willingness to accept responsibility for your actions. Any job requires a certain amount of accountability. No one can stand over you full time to make sure you're working, so accountability ensures that you have an incentive to fly right. Whether you're waiting tables or managing large corporate accounts, accountability will count.
All jobs require you to be accountable with timekeeping. Mny jobs in the professional world require you to either log your own hours or simply be where you're supposed to be during the workday. Accountability in this situation means being responsible even though you might not get caught for taking an extra-long lunch or hitting an afternoon matinee.
Assessing and Mentoring Others
Often, in a company, you'll be asked to assess your coworkers or guide those beneath you on projects. Accountability in this case means that you lead with the intention of teaching and assess with the intention of giving honest feedback and evaluation. The company assumes that you will not let other motives, such as jealousy or competition, get in the way.
Accountability for Yourself
Your health and fitness are crucial parts of your professional life. Why? Because your company depends on you to not take sick days flagrantly or render yourself unable to perform your job because of careless injuries. For example, say you smoke, eat poorly, and get no exercise. These behaviors clearly put you at a higher risk for health problems, which leads to lower productivity and a higher likelihood of you calling in sick from work. Drinking too much alcohol or using illegal drugs also can make you less likely to show up ready to work. Staying accountable for your health is part of being a successful employee.
Using Company Perks
Your job may require you to travel, stay in other cities overnight, or wine and dine clients. For these purposes, you'll often be given access to company cars, credit cards, and expense accounts. Accountability in this situation means following company policies and spending appropriate amounts. Ordering the lobster or running up a high hotel bar tab might be fun, but this kind of extravagance should never be charged to your company. Stay accountable for what you've really been hired to do, even when you're given access to perks and benefits with no real limit.
Jan Archer holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a master's degree in creative writing. Roth has written trade books for Books-a-Million and has published articles on green living, wellness and education topics. She taught business writing, literature, creative writing and English composition at the college level for five years.