Income Artist

What Does it Mean to Hold Someone Accountable?

Author: Adam
Published:September 14, 2022
3 mins 54 secs
What Does it Mean to Hold Someone Accountable?

One of the primary issues that a manager or business owner faces is holding someone accountable. By being accountable it means an employee is answerable for their actions.

An accountable person is responsible for achieving certain outcomes and will be expected to take the credit or blame for those outcomes.

Accountability is not mandatory, but in a way, every employee of an organization has a certain level of accountability, based on their job title.

The important thing is to officially establish the level of accountability of an employee.

How Do You Make Someone Accountable?


Making someone accountable can be a tricky process. You don’t want to step on any toes by interfering in the way someone does their job. However, you need to set expectations for your employees or team members.

Here is how you can go about it:

Set Expectations


You cannot have expectations and expect a team member to automatically know what you expect from them. You can follow the “What, when, and so that” model.

It goes like this:

  • What?

The task is clearly defined. Ensure that you give ample opportunity for the employee to ask any questions and clear ambiguities if any.

  • When?

Here, you need to set a realistic deadline for particular tasks. But get a confirmation from the employee that they are comfortable with the deadlines set for them.

  • So That…

Sometimes the outcomes of a task may not be entirely clear. It’s always a good practice to ensure that the person who is assigned a task understands the purpose of it and the outcomes expected.

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The Importance of Follow Up


Once you have set expectations and made an employee accountable does not mean that you can sit back and forget about it. You need to keep the lines of communication open and monitor the progress of the employee.

It is easy to get busy with other seemingly more important tasks and neglect to check if the tasks you set are being performed according to expectations.

You need to hold meetings regularly. Setting up a reporting system wherein you receive reports regularly is also a good idea.

You don’t have to wait for meetings to track the progress of your employees and their teams.

Some great online platforms exist that allow team members to share their progress, keeping everyone updated on a project.

Set Realistic Goals


While assigning tasks, ensure that the work is within the capacity of the person to whom you are assigning. It’s a good practice to set expectations slightly higher than an individual’s capacity. It makes room for self-improvement.

But be realistic because assigning impossible targets can be demotivating and counterproductive.

Set a Good Example

Remember, accountability starts with you. You are equally accountable, if not more than the individuals whom you render accountable.

Whether you are a manager or the CEO of the company, it is you who is accountable to every single member of the organization that you make accountable.

If for example, there is an issue of tardiness, you need to be punctual yourself to set an example. If you are motivating employees to come up with new project ideas, you should generate a few yourself.

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Provide the Necessary Resources

When you make a person accountable, you need to ensure that they have the required resources in place. For example, they should have access to all the required information and data.

Some companies provide different authority and access levels for different roles. Ensure that each employee has the necessary clearance to fulfill their responsibilities without any encumbrances.

Handling Underperformers


Not only does accountability help to set expectations, but it also enables you to weed out the underperformers.

In every team, there will be the usual quota of underperformers. These are individuals who consistently fall short of their targets.

Put such people on an action plan, but ensure that you make them understand where they fall short, and what they need to do to come up to level.

You also need to provide additional support to help them meet expectations.

Such measures usually work, but for a handful of people, who don’t show improvement, you need to show them the door. But that is an issue that will be dealt with by your HR personnel.


For an organization to be successful, its employees need to perform to the best of their ability. This can only be achieved through accountability.

There are various ways of making employees accountable.

Once your employees or team members are accountable, you can keep your finger on the pulse of the organization.

Any company that has employees that are fully accountable for their actions will thrive and prosper.