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Appreciate The Value Of Personal Accountability

The one personal skill that continues to differentiate success from mediocrity is personal accountability.  Personal accountability is defined as the ability to be responsible for the consequences of one’s actions and decisions.  Personal accountability is a personal skill that can be observed and developed.

A person who has a strong sense of personal accountability has an internal responsibility to be accountable; a willingness to “own up” that will be exhibited in the person’s actions.  Someone who has personal accountability will perform well even when expectations are not clear, resources are hard to find, or competition is tough.


How do leaders know if the people they are looking to hire or their direct reports have personal accountability?  Ask these questions:


  • Tell me about a time when it was necessary to admit to others that you had made a mistake.  How did you handle it?

  • Give an example of a situation where others had made an error or mistake and you had to take the blame for their actions.  How did you react?

  • What is the worst business decision you ever made?  What made it the worst? Would knowing what you do now have helped you to avoid making that decision?

  • Give me an example of a lesson you have learned from making a mistake.  What did you do differently going forward?


Leaders who understand the personal accountability capacity of each direct report will be empowered and empower others for greater success.

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