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What does taking accountability mean?

Failure (in every sense of the word), while sometimes scary, is a natural part of life. Everyone experiences it at one point or another, but not everyone knows how to handle it in a healthy way.

However, not only should you view "mistakes" as an opportunity for growth and experience, but you should recognize when to take responsibility for those actions. Not every mistake is “negative” or “positive”, but your ownership of that mistake is what really matters.

Taking responsibility for your actions means acknowledging the role you play in your own life– both the good and the bad. It means holding yourself accountable for the decisions you make and realizing that you are in charge of your own course in life.

accountability: the quality or state of being accountable especially an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions [X]

So, while other people obviously have an influence on your life, taking accountability means accepting your own role in what’s happening, instead of looking for others to blame.

Here are some examples of accountability in action:

  • People recognize and own up to their part of what is occurring

  • If their message is hurtful to someone, they are willing to examine how their communication may have been unhealthy or damaging

  • If they feel hurt or angry, they understand it is their choice to feel that way

  • They don't blame others when they're at fault

  • They don't make excuses for why things are happening

  • They don't pawn off all the responsibility (or all the failure) onto their teams or subordinates

  • If they continually miss deadlines or essential project parameters, they don't pretend that it is all out of their control