I must confess that it took me a while to sort out the difference between responsibility and accountability. Very often, dictionary definitions use those two words interchangeably. That’s why I was impressed when I read Jack Canfield’s recent blog that pointed out the difference between the two. 

When you are responsible for something, it’s your duty and yours alone to take action. You’re responsible for taking care of yourself. You shower and brush your teeth. You put on clean clothes. You pay your bills and your taxes. No one else can do that for you. We take care of ourselves not only because no one else is going to do that for us, but because it feels good. And, unless you have an arrangement with another person, you probably don’t report to someone when you do these things.

Accountability, on the other hand, requires that you report the outcome of your actions for specific things that you take responsibility for to another person. This happens in work situations and it happens as you become more determined to set goals that are going to ultimately lead you to creating the life of your dreams. 

You Can’t Have Accountability Without Responsibility

When I finally got the subtle differences, it became quite clear that when it comes right down to it you can be responsible without having accountability. But you can’t be accountable without being responsible. You see, according to Steven R. Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, accountability actually breeds responsibility.

Today, many people work with an accountability partner. This is a great way to actually double your chances of achieving goals that you set for yourself. I have found having an accountability partner to be a highly rewarding experience which fires me up and keeps me motivated.

How To Work With An Accountability Partner

When you have an accountability partner, you establish a goal. (Perhaps getting a wonderful accountability partner is your first goal You will take full responsibility for this action.) Then between the two of you, establish various action steps you’re going to take toward achieving that goal. At your subsequent meetings. you then report whether or not you took said actions. 

You can establish meetings according to your accountability partner’s schedule and your own. For some people twice a month works well. For others, once a month is enough. If you don’t take said actions, your accountability partner is going to want to know why. But just knowing that you’ll be reporting to this person is usually motivation enough to take the steps you said you would. 

In fact, Jack Canfield shared that “the American Society of Training and Development did a study on accountability, which showed that if you make a commitment to another person and make a specific appointment to check in with the other person and report on your progress, you will increase your chance of success by 95%.” 

Surround Yourself With People Who Like To Be Held Accountable For Their Actions

Most people who strive to achieve their dreams and goals love being responsible. And, like me, once they learn the difference between responsibility and accountability, responsible people look forward to being held accountable for their actions. I encourage you, as you continue along the path of pursuing your dreams and goals to find an accountability partner. You’ll discover it’s like getting onto the superhighway to your dreams! Once you get into the habit of working with your accountability partner, you’ll probably wonder how you ever got things done without one!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *