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What is the most important trait a worker should have? If you ask bosses and CEOs around the world, you might get different answers. Some might think that organization is key to success, while others care more about dedication and passion.
If you ask me, the most important trait that anyone should have is accountability. Being responsible for what you’ve done is something I’ve always advocated for. I believe that people who are willing to accept their duties must also be honest with everyone, including themselves. That means being able to admit if they’ve made a mistake and how they plan to bounce back.
Accountability is all about the power of responsibility and transparency. The word itself means the ability to be accountable for one’s actions. In other words, accountability is about owning up and taking responsibility for what you’ve done.
While the word may sound awe-inspiring, it’s not about grand gestures or choices. Being accountable is about admitting to yourself and to others what you do as right or wrong. When a person can honestly say when they did a good job and when they didn’t, that’s a sign of accountability.0
In short, accountability is when you’re honest enough to be responsible for all your actions. This also means you’re willing to accept the outcomes and consequences that lie ahead. An accountable person will be the first to tell the boss if they’ve made a crucial mistake at work. Becoming someone like that may sound tough and scary, but for me, there’s nothing more admirable than an honest person who knows how to be accountable.
You might be wondering why being responsible for all your actions, both good and bad, is so special. That’s because the honesty that you build can help you understand who you are and what you should do. Here are five key benefits of accountability.
The first and most important benefit of accountability is that it makes people self-aware. When someone is expected to do something, it’s crucial that they know what to do and how to do it. That also means it’s their responsibility to reach that point.
Oftentimes, a workplace or home that doesn’t make people accountable will suffer lots of confusion and problems. Worst yet, the people who are at fault might not even understand that they screwed up.
That’s why knowing how to be accountable become more self-aware. When you’re encouraged to take ownership of what you do, it makes you more careful. You start to see and understand what actions, habits, or thoughts might be holding you back. Most importantly, you’re willing to see your mistakes as mistakes and make up for them.
Whether at an office or in your bedroom, it’s crucial to know what your priorities are. So many people like to procrastinate or put off their responsibilities. By the time they have to step up or submit their work, the damage has been done. For example, you might wake up early and decide to nap because work is only an hour away. Before you know it, you’re already ten minutes late.
By learning how to be accountable, you start to train your mind to see tasks or challenges as your own. You can learn to prioritize and see which ones need more work than others. For example, an accountable person might want to buy a nice snack, but they also know that they have a report due in an hour. With gritted teeth, they’ll get back to work and finish that report as soon as possible. It may not be easy, but knowing what takes priority can save you from a massive headache.
The reason why many workers and freelancers are afraid of accountability is simple: they don’t want to suffer the consequences. Think of them as the kids who broke the vase and decide to hide the pieces. They know they did wrong, but they don’t want to suffer the reprimand or time-out.
However, as nice as it seems to avoid getting yelled at, this only fosters more and more lies. People who want to get away from being at fault will become less honest with everyone, including themselves. What starts out as little white lies slowly build into serious problems that they can’t accept or admit to.
If you’re willing to be the kid that admits to breaking the vase, it’ll save you from a lifetime of regret. You might get scolded, but your parents will be glad that you’re willing to admit to your faults. Plus, as long as you’re willing to make up for it, you can do what you need to make things right again. In short, being able to accept and understand your mistakes is an easy way to learn how to be accountable.
Oftentimes, the reason that you might not feel happy at work is that you don’t even know what you’re doing. For example, you might be tasked to fill out several spreadsheets about client information. While it can get you paid, you might not think of this task as important or special.
Now, imagine that your spreadsheet is all about the clients you have and their key information, such as insurance policies and monthly payments. If you read into it further, you might notice that your spreadsheets carry a lot of important info that can help each client pay their bills and keep their insurance in check. Knowing how important it is, you’ll feel more determined to make the spreadsheet clean and organized.
That’s what knowing how to be accountable can do. Once you understand what your job is and how it matters to others, you can stay motivated to succeed. Always remember that all jobs have a purpose. It’s up to you to find them.
sitting beside each other as an exam goes on. You notice that one of them is actively trying to cheat, peeking over to see his classmate’s answers, while the other isn’t. When the results come out, you find out that both of them got over 90% in their exam. Now, of the two boys, which one do you think feels more accomplished?
When someone is accountable, it’s easier for them to recognize the hard-fought wins and successes in their life. Being responsible for all that you do is a lot of work, but that makes the victories so much sweeter. If you look at the example beforehand, you can probably see that the boy who didn’t cheat is going to feel happier with the score he got. Not only did he put in a lot of work to get a good grade, but he made sure to do it under his own power.
That’s why you should also take time to be more accountable for your own work and plan. Nothing in life comes easy, but when you finally get a win, you’ll feel much better. For example, losing ten pounds may sound impossible to some but those who try to reach for it will be glad that they did. Remember, it’s a lot more rewarding to win when you know how far you’ve gone.
Now that you see the different ways that accountability can make your life better, it’s time to learn how you can apply it at home. Whether you’re by yourself or in a household full of loved ones, it’s crucial that you help set the right atmosphere. An environment that encourages people to be responsible will help everyone feel more in control and competent. Here are ten simple ways you can build accountability for yourself and the family.
The first step to taking responsibility for anything is to know what you will do for the day. No one wants to spend 24 hours of their time with no direction whatsoever. Sure, you might argue that doing nothing is rest, but there are better ways to do that.
Instead, make it a point to dedicate each day to a specific goal or dream you have. It doesn’t have to be a grand design, either. Something as simple as walking your dog or cooking your own meals is a good start. Then, by the time you’re headed back to sleep, you can review what you’ve accomplished so far. Remember that any progress is good progress, even if it’s only a few steps.
Once you start setting and reviewing your daily goals, you’ll start to see patterns emerge in your schedule. For example, you might notice that you spend your mornings walking around or getting ready for work. Go with the flow and take these habits as part of a set routine in your life. By forming a standard schedule, you can organize your life and take ownership of each hour of the day. This way, you’ll know how to be accountable at every point of the day.
As you make your daily schedule and follow through with the plans set, you’ll notice that there will be days when things don’t go your way. Whether it’s a special occasion or a pre-planned meetup, you might feel flustered and overwhelmed at having to change your schedule.
To learn how to be accountable quickly, take time every morning to review your schedule accordingly. For example, you might have an important job interview in the next two days. Instead of waiting for the day to arrive, set aside time each day leading up to it to prepare your things. This way, you’ll be more than ready to go about your business as soon as the interview time arrives
As much as self-discipline helps, it’s easy for people to lose track of their obligations. A writer might spend some nights falling asleep, instead of writing one or two pages of his book. If that writer wants to make progress, he or she will need someone to keep them in check. Perhaps the writer will speak to a close friend and tell them of their problems so that the friend can call them when it’s time to start writing.
You can take this same approach with your own goals in life. Telling your partner or sibling or close friend about plans is a good way to stick to them.They can act as your accountability buddy, checking on you to make sure that you follow your promises.
At the end of the day, regardless of what you’ve been able to do or finish, it’s important to review what has happened. Take some time before sleeping to see how much work or progress you’ve done in each of your tasks. Have you worked as hard as you did yesterday? Did you manage to save this much money? By having a nightly review, you can assess where you need to put more effort on. It’s a good way to learn how to be accountable quickly, especially if your tasks personally inspire\ you.
While there’s no real deadline for success, too many people avoid putting any time limits or constraints on their work. Like a New Year’s resolution, plans for losing weight or working hard can disappear because people don’t see a deadline or risk ahead.
Take the initiative to challenge yourself by putting up deadlines for all your major tasks or concerns. For example, if you want to cook breakfast, set a specific time you should start and an ideal time to finish. Rather than staying put to nap or lazing on your phone, you can feel inspired to start moving as the clock strikes the hour you yourself placed.
A common reason why people don’t stay accountable or accept responsibility is that they were “too busy with other things”. What’s sad is that with the hustle culture of today, people think that working on several tasks at once is a smart move. It’s no wonder you can see people eating their lunch, working on their laptops, and calling their friends at the same time.
Here’s a harsh reality check: multitasking never works. You’re only dividing your brain’s attention, cutting up your efforts to get anything done. Instead of reaching 100% of four or more solutions, you’re only getting about a quarter of the work finished. Do yourself a favor and focus on one task at a time. Keep your mind focused on that one problem, whether it’s paperwork or house chores, to practice how to be accountable quickly. You’d be surprised just how quickly it can be done when you only focus on that one thing.
If you want to stay accountable, you shouldn’t focus only on when you work. There’s a difference between a hardworking person and a perfectionist. You want to do as much work as you can without draining too much energy. So, take time to watch over your own body and step back when necessary. For example, you can go for a nice walk or listen to some soothing music for a few minutes, especially after a two-hour or three-hour work pace.
Being self-aware is one of the best things about accountability. The best way to keep yourself and your loved ones accountable is to remind them of the outcomes of every action. Simple things like washing your hands or taking out the trash can be paired up with an important goal or plan. For example, you can say that washing the dishes is important because you need the dishes for food tomorrow. That way, whether you choose to wash or not, you’re at least aware of what your choice will lead to.
Lastly, always remember that being accountable means knowing when to pat yourself on the back. It might sound arrogant, but it’s actually a good sign of faith and self-confidence. After all, no one wants to spend their life without some recognition. If you worked hard to maintain a week of work or finish a lengthy report, give yourself time to smile. Take a moment to be thankful for what you’ve accomplished. Knowing how to be accountable means also knowing what you’ve earned. The more you reward yourself, the easier it’ll be to push ahead and become stronger.
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