Without Accountability For Actions There Would Be No Progression

Without accountability for actions there would be no progression in our lives or in our organizations.  And as Tomas Paine expressed when he stated, “…men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.” We ought not trust those who are unwilling to be accountable.

Each of us has a moral and legal responsibility to be accountable for our own actions. And anyone who holds any kind of leadership position – whether as a business leader, a civic leader, a church leader, or as a parent – has the added responsibility of also holding those people they lead accountable for their actions and for allowing them to face the consequences of their bad behavior.

While leaders should be quick to forgive those who are willing to acknowledge their mistakes, rectify them, and change their behavior, they should still require people to face the consequences for their poor choices and actions because it is in facing those consequences that people grow and improve. Leaders who don’t require this aren’t being kind, rather they are actually damaging the people they lead’s ability to learn and grow as they need to.

When mistakes are made or people behave badly, it is the leaders responsibility to ensure that things get resolved, and a matter isn’t truly resolved until accountability has been taken, the problem has been honestly acknowledged, what can be done to rectify the situation (which often includes having people face consequences for bad behavior that has occurred) has been done, and proper safeguards have been put in place to ensure the same problem won’t occur again. It is in resolving things properly that we allow ourselves and others to be able to progress.

No question that personal accountability takes work. And being a leader with the responsibility to also ensure that those you lead take personal accountability is even more work. But I love the words spoken by D. Todd Christofferson that reiterate the importance of defending against the inclination to avoid the work required to help ourselves and others to grow:

“Personal accountability becomes both a right and a duty that we must constantly defend… We must defend accountability against persons and programs that would (sometimes with the best of intentions) make us dependent. And we must defend it against our own inclinations to avoid the work that is required to cultivate talents, abilities, and Christlike character.”

Don’t be afraid to hold people accountable. Love them, forgive them, but allow them to face the consequences of their bad behavior so you can help them to learn and grow so they can eventually become all that God intended them to be.

~Amy Rees Anderson


  • Jane says:

    Your final statement is how it needs to be. No matter how painful, the truth is, forgiveness for doing wrong is a necessary step to restoration, but forgiven doesn’t mean the consequences are voided.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you just what I needed to hear and be reminded off for myself and as a parent and grandparent. It is so easy to say “that is Ok I want you to have an easier life Than I did or do. In reality everyone is responsible to acknowledge what needs changed in their own life and move forward or else you dig yourself a deeper hole. Thank you

  • Heather Vogeley says:

    I would like your advice on a situation at work. We have a recently hired receptionist who consistently displays unprofessional behavior. Example: the owner had to ask her to wear a bra. She went to a co-worker and claimed that we had no right to ask this of her. Another behavior is that she constantly interrupts conversations, just barges in the middle. I am currently in charge of HR, legal, and compliance. And for some reason, beyond my comprehension, she has zero respect for me. Knowing this, I have struggled to take the attitude that she needs help. I was chatting with a co-worker, within her peripheral view, when a call came in. She responded that the person for whom the caller intended to speak was in a meeting. I returned to my office soon after and discovered that the call was for me. I saw this as a teaching opportunity and calmly approached her to let her know that she may interrupt me by saying something like: “I hate to interrupt, but there is a call for you.” When I said this, she immediately became defensive and nasty. I was shocked and tried to further explain the situation. I was upset by her behavior and immediately informed the owner/CEO (with whom I work closely). The very next day the receptionist gave her 2 week notice citing the reason was that I yelled at her and treated her unprofessionally. She also said that she will be reporting me to Utah Workforce Services. The situation is completely jarring, to say the least. I have no clue what to do. She is not being held accountable, but is shifting the blame. Please lend me some guidance!!!

  • Terrence Robert Whitton says:

    I like it, very practical and expresses more of what I hope others see and the truth,the light and the way of life and all of it’s glory honor and happiness and the way to heaven if it exists but if not it is the way to benevolent altruism in life and to continue to do for ourselves and each other to believe in. Very heart warming, moving to hear that there are others out there that believe in good over evil in a true sense of the word.Good speed and hope the best for you in this life whether we meet or not in person,you deserve it like others like you.Very moving to tears and in a lot of ways the documentary of my life believe it or not. If camera’s and tape recorders followed me around the things people would have seen would have been shocking. It is one thing to talk about but the truth,but live it in a very altruistic way and express it can not be denied but is the trueness of also naivities in incidents of lack of knowledge of concepts also who people truly are and lack of ideals definements. I cannot be more honest than I have been to others of my ideals,morals,ethics and words lived by myself to the best I can do.

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