The 3 Key Benefits of Accountability

You might think checking in with people on your goals and actions is time-consuming. But that thought is a trap just like anything else that’s done with short-sightedness.

Being held accountable by a person you respect is a powerful strategy to achieve your desired goals. Read the primary benefits outlined below and then get yourself a coach, a peer or a leader you like to hold yourself accountable for the actions you have committed to.

#1 You perform better

People make better choices and perform at a higher level when they know they are being watched by others. The reasoning is simple—when you are held accountable for your actions, you will work harder because you feel a greater sense of obligation towards others.

This phenomenon has been proven by hundreds of psychological tests over the course of the last sixty years.

The most famous example is the Hawthorne effect, also known as the “observer effect,” which states that you’ll probably do a better job when someone is watching you perform a task.

The term “Hawthorne effect” was coined by Henry A. Landsberger in 1950. Landsberger was analyzing experiments conducted between 1924 and 1932 at the Hawthorne Works, a Western Electric factory near Chicago. The factory had commissioned the study to see if workers would be more productive in higher or lower levels of light.

The researchers noticed that the workers’ productivity improved when the study began and slumped when it ended.

In the end, the researchers suggested that the workers’ increase in productivity was the direct result of being under the watchful eyes of outside observers.

In the sixty years since this experiment, the same idea has been tested, again and again, always yielding the same results—being observed while you perform an activity will help you perform better.

#2 You get honest feedback from others

Outlining the next action steps to someone else you respect is a great way to get feedback on the priorities you set to achieve your goal. Our “lens” is tinted by our own experiences, knowledge, and education and we may not see opportunities and possibilities that other people see.

With external accountability, you consistently have people in your life who ask: “Why is this important?” or “How does this action support you in achieving your goal?” Being challenged like this is good because it forces you to closely examine each goal and action and make sure it’s your best path to go.

#3 It creates firm deadlines for important tasks

Planning is an essential part of the goal-setting process. Without prior planning, any task is significantly more difficult to achieve.

One essential component of planning is setting firm (and public) deadlines. Sure, keeping a private timeline in your head can work, but there is a better chance you’ll follow through if you tell others about your timeline and commit to reporting back on your progress. It highly increases the likelihood for you to finish projects by specific deadlines.

Start your accountability today

Creating and establishing accountability doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process. In fact, here are three simple steps to start benefiting from accountability.

1. Find a partner or peer to keep you accountable. Tell your partner or peer what you intend to do so you can be accountable. Request for them to ask you about your progress and be sure to give straightforward answers—with no excuses.

2. Become personally accountable for your success. Personal responsibility will shift your perspective and empower you to eradicate the excuses that may be holding you up. It’s the inner part of the game while accountability towards others itself is the external driver. Both components are needed.

3. Get a mentor or a coach. With a mentor or coach, you will accelerate your success, and achieve much more than you ever can on your own. At some point, you must consider getting this caliber of assistance to truly blast past the mediocrity and into high-level achievement.

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