Personal Accountability as a Business Owner and Why It Is So Important

Personal accountability requires an inward assessment of your actions. Read on about personal accountability and how to promote it within your business. 

What Is Personal Accountability?

Personal accountability is the ability to be aware of your positive and negative actions and take ownership of the impact of those actions on yourself and others. Personal accountability is not always a given. Sometimes it takes work to achieve it, but it’s worth it in the end.

Personal accountability requires you to take stock of your morals, actions, and effect on others. It requires a true inward assessment. Keep reading to find out why it is important and how you can work to achieve it for yourself and your employees. 

Why Is It Important?

As a business owner, it is your job to set an example for your employees. If you can hold yourself accountable, that should inspire your employees to follow suit. Studies show that there are several benefits to personal accountability

Improved Performance And Participation

When you can evaluate your performance honestly, you can use that information to improve it. Once you know where you are, you can create a map of where you want to go. 

When your employees feel like they are trusted, they are more likely to go the extra mile when it matters most. Being treated like a professional and being independent can motivate your employees to take pride in every aspect of their work.

When your employees see you taking accountability for your actions, they are more likely to do the same. It can help shift a mindset from blaming someone or something else to looking at the real issue and taking steps to solve it. 

When employees see you holding yourself accountable, and coworkers see each other looking inward to make changes, people can become motivated to put more effort into their participation in the workplace. 

Increased Competency And Commitment

Competency is the ability to perform a certain skill effectively. In order to improve competency, you must accurately assess where you are. This means taking a cold hard look in the mirror and figuring out what you could do better. 

In general, the next step towards improving competency involves feedback. While you should evaluate yourself and create your own feedback, it is wise to collect insight from others. If you have a business partner, that can be the perfect person to provide you with constructive feedback.

Feedback can be tricky, so it is prudent to create a system of operations for the feedback process. Feedback templates can include things like:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Suggestions for improvement

In addition to receiving feedback from your business partner, it can also be helpful to receive feedback from your employees. It is up to you how you conduct this, but many employees report a preference for an anonymous feedback process. This will allow employees to contribute their thoughts safely and honestly. Allowing an anonymous feedback process promotes:

  • Feedback participation
  • Safe spaces
  • Employee empowerment

Employees who feel like their voices are being heard may grow a sense of loyalty to your business. Everyone wants to feel included, so having your employees help you work on accountability is a great way to promote a positive work environment.

More Creativity And Better Culture 

Creativity comes from many places. Sometimes, you don’t know something needs improving until you truly look inward. Working on personal accountability allows you to take a step to the outside and look in.

When you do this, it might permit you to see things you did not before. This can really get your creative juices flowing. When you see things that can be improved, start brainstorming ways you want to make those improvements. It could be the start of something great. 

A positive work culture starts with you. When your employees witness you constantly trying to grow, it can inspire them to do the same. Imagine a business full of people consistently trying to improve their skills. It can create a truly special place where everyone is helping each other grow., which will ultimately help your business thrive. 

How Can You Improve Personal Accountability?

Personal accountability calls for honesty. You have to be willing to admit a certain amount of weakness. Remember, weakness is not a bad thing — rather, it is an opportunity to grow stronger. Improving personal accountability requires you to:

  • Take ownership
  • Adopt a growth mindset
  • Monitor progress

Take Ownership

Taking ownership can come in many different forms. However, one of the biggest ways to take ownership is to stop blaming others or outside forces and start taking charge. 

For example, what is your excuse if you are consistently late to work? Are you blaming it on traffic or construction? Instead of focusing on the outside force, shift your perspective to what you can control. If you constantly hit traffic that makes you late to work, consider leaving earlier or changing your route. 

When your employees see you identifying a personal problem, they are more likely to model that behavior. A true leader can understand their flaws and make improvements. 

Adopt A Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is a belief that your abilities are not fixed, and you can make improvements if you put in the effort. When seeking accountability, a growth mindset is essential. 

Think of an aspect of your business that is personal to you but is not going the way you hoped. Maybe you have been trying to promote your business’s visibility through your social media account, but you haven’t seen any development. 

A fixed mindset would think, “I guess this just isn’t working,” or “I’ve done everything I can, but people will never like these posts.” On the other hand, a growth mindset would think, “These posts don’t seem to be gaining any traction yet, so what strategies can I take or what methods can I learn to improve engagement?” 

When it comes to personal accountability and a growth mindset, you must look inward and upward. 

Monitor Progress

In order to monitor progress, you must choose a starting point. Assess your weaknesses or things you’d like to improve. Then, create measurable goals for yourself that you can monitor on a timeline.

When the time comes, you can revisit those goals and see how you have improved. If you have not improved, you should take the time to evaluate what fell short. Then, create actionable steps for how you can continue to strive towards that goal.

If you are hoping to improve personal accountability among your employees, then work with them to set goals for themselves. Sit down individually with your employees and ask them how they want to grow. As you did with yourself, set up timelines and check-ins, so your employee understands the expectations. 

How Can You Promote Personal Accountability In The Workplace?

Personal accountability will improve the overall environment of your business. When you are open to growth, you create the opportunity for your business to grow. When you can model humility, your employees are likelier to do the same. 

To promote personal accountability in your business, focus on the four Es:

  • Environment
  • Expectations
  • Examples
  • Evolution


Although you don’t want to see yourself or your employees fail, you cannot work in a fearful environment. Allow yourself and your employees the opportunity to fail, so you, in turn, allow for reflection and growth.


What standard are you going to hold yourself to? How do employees know to what standard they’re being held? When you know what you expect from yourself and your employees know what you expect, every party involved can work with those expectations in mind. 

Expectations create clear guidelines and make progress easier to monitor along the way.


As a business owner, you must lead by example. You cannot expect your employees to behave a certain way if you do not model that behavior. If you make a mistake, own up to it. If you do something awesome, celebrate as a team. Work to create an environment in which you are a trustworthy leader.


If you don’t evolve, neither will your business. Strive to be a lifelong learner. This means that you are never too old to keep learning. Attend conferences, watch educational videos, and do research. Stay on top of the best ways to run your business.

Then, share the wealth. Teach your employees what you know. Provide them with professional development opportunities. The more they know, the more they can contribute to your business. It’s a win-win. 


When it comes to being a leader, you must be willing to take accountability. While a huge part of leadership is being confident, informed, and driven, the mark of a true leader is someone who can look inward and make improvements. If you can do that, you will put yourself and your business in the best position to reach success. 


Accountability Can Have Positive Results ⎸ U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Five Reasons Your Organization Needs An Anonymous Employee Feedback Program ⎸ Forbes

Take Ownership of Your Actions by Taking Responsibility ⎸ Harvard Business Review

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