To accept responsibility for the consequences of actions or decisions.
The state of being accountable is to be responsible and to account for your actions or decisions. You can be accountable towards yourself or others and out of obligation or willingness. Accountable is the adjective form of the noun accountability.
When you are accountable for something, you must be able to justify your actions or decisions. Being accountable enforces standards and expectations to prevent unsatisfactory situations or results. Accountability usually takes place after a situation or problem with consequences occurs. Setting up an environment where you can effectively hold someone accountable for something includes having clear expectations, measurements, feedback opportunities, and consequences.
You can use the word accountable in many situations. Examples of how to use it in a sentence include:
- His father was held accountable for his actions.
- The president should be accountable to the people in the country.
- My manager is accountable only to the CEO.
Real-World Example Of Being Accountable
We often use lawsuits to hold people or companies accountable for their actions. An example was the BP oil spill in 2010. Following an ignition on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, the platform capsized and sank. During the several months from April to September before repairs could be made, at least 134 million gallons of oil were released into the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The spill disrupted the coastal economy and ecosystem. It killed rig workers and animals like dolphins and turtles. It also ruined people's livelihoods in Florida, Missippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. In December, the U.S. Justice Department filed civil lawsuits for the incident, including prosecuting the case under the Clean Water Act.
The responsible parties held accountable for the oil spill are the rig's owners and operators, including BP, TransOcean, Anadarko, and MOEX. As a result, BP had to pay billions of dollars in fines and compensation, including $2.4 billion to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Significance Of Being Accountable
Without accountability, people and businesses could get away with disastrous actions, such as the oil spill example previously detailed. There would be no respect for laws or regulations meant to keep people and the environment safe. On a personal level, being accountable for your goals can lead to success. If you have a savings goal, sticking to a budget and holding yourself accountable for how you spend your money is important.
Being accountable in the workplace is essential for efficiencies in businesses or organizations as operations rely on accountability when employees carry out their responsibilities. When all employees are accountable, the work environment is more productive since every employee contributes to a business's success. Being an accountable employee can also prevent you from getting fired or provide promotion opportunities. Accountable employees are those who:
- Complete tasks designated to them
- Are present for their entire shift
- Comply with company culture
- Follow workplace regulations
If an employee consistently shows up late to work, misses project deadlines, or violates workplace harassment rules, it is essential to hold them accountable for their actions. Remind them of the expectations required and the consequences for continued unacceptable behavior. Unaccountable employees could negatively impact the company in numerous ways, such as lowering workplace standards and influencing negative behaviors.
Accountable vs. Responsible
Being accountable means you take responsibility for a consequence of your action or decision. However, being responsible for something means you have an obligation towards something or someone. If you fail in your responsibilities, you could be held accountable for the consequences of that failure.
For example, while working on a project with another person may be responsible for researching and writing content for a brochure. The other person is responsible for adding graphics. If you include a false statistic in the brochure that the designer creates a graphic for and the client rejects the brochure, you can be held accountable for your mistake and the consequence.