Do you have these 10 qualities of accountable people?

Some lazy types among us can confuse accountability with being held to account, and will avoid it like the plague. They fail to realise the following qualities are the hallmarks of excellent, must-have employees.

1. Answer emails and requests

In an era of increasing rudeness and indifference, it is a rare pleasure to receive clearly written and polite emails, and answers to requests. ‘Dan from Optus’ demonstrated this wittily and politely in his social media strategy not long ago when dealing with customer complaints – and got results well beyond those achieved by other telcos (and possibly a lot of job offers too!).

2. Do what you promise

Those who do otherwise generate angry customers, clients and stakeholders. It can be difficult to hit the bullseye of people’s expectations every time, but attempting to BS one’s way out of it leads to major fails all around. If you can’t deliver, then definitely do not promise in the first place.

3. Take responsibility for actions

This is a sign of a mature, fair-minded individual. But don’t automatically shoulder the blame when it isn’t due. Show preparedness to discuss what went wrong and to flag possible remedies.

4. Proactively solve problems

This signals one’s realisation that something is causing grief; there’s a spanner in the works compounding what’s already going on. Roll up your sleeves and work to get answers or directions towards a solution.

5. Don’t blame or make excuses

Occasionally when one’s unfairly in the firing line, making excuses or blaming can be tempting. Try not to do this. Deal with the matter at hand and when the pressure has eased off, canvass with others what actually happened and how it can be prevented in the future.

6. Always remain ethical in your actions

This is easily said and not always put into practice. Some people just can’t resist instant gratification, even when it’s undeserved or illegitimate. Do the right thing and it’s true – you are eventually rewarded (in a meaningful, ‘soul’ way).

7. Be honest and transparent in all work

Sometimes this doesn’t pay but it’s important when you’re dealing with others who are somewhat less than transparent. Keep your standards high and clear for all to see.

8. Demonstrate outcomes

Some conflate this with a pretence of competence. You may recognise these types, because they talk much more than they deliver. There’s a time for bold or impressive talk, granted, but at the end of the day people want outcomes. Be the doer, not the showpony.

9. Review and evaluate to improve

Perfection is seldom attained in anyone’s lifetime but accountability-conscious people are not necessarily perfectionists for the sake of it. They recognise instead that there’s always room for improvement and they do it with good grace and perspective.

10. Show humility and the will to apologise

An accountable person has a good sense already of when they’ve transgressed and they usually swiftly apologise. Those who refuse to acknowledge others in discussions, debates or disputes seldom do this. A genuine apology will clear the air.

How many of these ten qualities do you have? Are you someone that people respect? You will be respected and admired more if you deliver on each of these ten characteristics.

Eve Ash is a psychologist, author, filmmaker, public speaker and entrepreneur. She runs Seven Dimensions, a company specialising in training resources for the workplace. See the rest of Eve’s blogs here.


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