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6 Powerful Principles of Personal Accountability

Personal accountability is a powerful thing.

People who understand how to be fully accountable for their actions are more successful and trusted. They have better relationships all around.

Some people understand and practice personal accountability; others do not so much. In most cases, this is a skill that can be improved.

Here are six skills that anyone can practice to improve personal accountability.

1. Practice Optimism

The perpetual pessimist will always see the worst; they live in eternal gloom. Even when success is within their grasp, they can’t enjoy it because they believe it is fleeting.

On the other hand, the incurable optimist thinks only good things will happen; setbacks are temporary and can be overcome with positivity.

Cultivating realistic hope through difficult times is one thing that makes great leaders stand out.

You can work towards a positive outlook even if you aren’t naturally optimistic. As you do this, notice the changes in your life — your colleagues, friends, and family will most likely respond in kind.

On the other hand, it’s important to remember that being optimistic doesn’t mean putting on rose-coloured glasses and ignoring essential problems.

Personal accountability is easier when you are optimistic, simply because it means you will be more likely to frame a mistake positively.

If you make a mistake, the best thing you can do is seize command of the moment and move forward.

2. Practice Self-Awareness

Self-awareness and insight are crucial to accepting responsibility for your actions. The problem with being too negative or positive is that you become prone to blind spots either way.

A distorted sense of reality can keep you from seeing the whole picture.

To achieve personal accountability, you need to look at things for how they are. Find a balance to gain perfect vision and see what is real.

A business coach can offer critical feedback on how your actions may influence others and help you see things as they really are.

3. Own Your Actions

Achieving your goals involves commitment and investment, but it won’t happen if you continually externalize instead of taking responsibility for your actions.

Playing the victim doesn’t work for anyone. When you do this, you become stuck in self-pity or anger at what caused the defeat rather than focus your time and energy on solutions.

Practicing ownership over your choices and actions will help you achieve greater success and meaningful goals.

When you refuse to hear the other side of the story, you don’t gain the insight and the wisdom to move forward.

4. Be Solution-Oriented

Solution-oriented means thinking creatively, opening up your mind, and accepting possibilities you may not have wanted to entertain.

One way to do this is to ask for help. It takes humility to ask the right people for help. It means accepting that you may not have had the right experience or knowledge and, therefore, need to do your research or educate yourself.

When you demonstrate personal accountability by taking ownership of your behaviours and decisions, your actions are deliberate, more informed and thoughtful. And with each calculated step you choose, you get closer to achieving personal success.

5. Change the Narrative

When you have all the facts, the skills, and the resources, you have the power to change the narrative.

A setback or obstacle may have momentarily derailed you, but taking ownership and seeing things for what they are will allow you to create a new path forward. It is the time when your tenacity and grit are tested.

You can stay stuck and wait for someone to rescue or blame you. Or you can accept that you played a part in your predicament and decide to save yourself.

Ultimately, you are responsible not only for your choices but the consequences. This realization alone will help you with personal accountability.

6. Supercharge Your Leadership Skills

Success comes to those who accept responsibility for their actions. They know their output is only as good as what they put in.

When you take ownership of your performance, you have the power to succeed in just about everything you do.

In all our years of business process optimization, corporate turnarounds and revitalizations, and team building, we have seen how a lack of personal accountability on the leadership level is enough to cause the most talented teams to fail.

If you want to supercharge your leadership skills and learn more about taking ownership of your choices and actions, let’s connect:

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you:

10 Keys to Better Goal Setting
How Cognitive Dissonance Helps With Your Persuasion Skills
The Power of the Peer-to-Peer Learning Environment

This article was published in 2018, and updated in 2021. 

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Inscape Consulting Group
Greg Nichvalodoff, BSc. BM (Honors), MBA, PCC, CMC
Office: 604.943.0800
Mobile: 604.831.4734