Accountability: Why It’s Better to Take the Blame

Many of my topic ideas for my posts are inspired by daily interactions from class, work, or the office and this week’s post is no different. As a general business minor, I take classes that often present a different perspective or approach to communication. But every now and then, there’s applicable overlap between business and public relations. Earlier this week in my Environmental Law class, we were discussing law case studies, in many of which companies that were fined a large sum of money for failing to complete forms regarding their plant’s emissions.  All of the companies discussed used the defense that they were unaware of the law requiring them to complete these forms and therefore should not be fined.
My professor, a practicing lawyer in environmental law, noted that ignorance of a law does not mean you should not be held accountable. But accountability isn’t only important in business and law, but in workplace communication as well. Here are a few key reasons why you should practice personal accountability:
  • Displays responsibility. By recognizing that you made a mistake and taking the blame instead of pointing a finger, you show your supervisor that you are mature and dependable. Although you may be at fault, admitting so means you are dependable and responsible- a person your supervisor can rely on.
  • Shows leadership.  By taking accountability for your actions, it shows you’re willing to admit your mistakes. This is an essential characteristic for leadership that your boss will recognize.
  • Promotes workplace success. When all employees are accountable for their actions, the organization can work more effectively and successfully.

Making excuses, such as lack of knowledge, reflects poorly on you as an employee. It is your responsibility to make sure you DO know or make sure to find out when you don’t. In situations in which you are in the wrong, it’s best to take responsibility for your mistake. At the end of the day, your superior will remember your accountability more than the error you made in the first place.

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