Accountability is not simply taking the blame when something goes wrong. It’s not a confession. Accountability is about delivering on a commitment. It’s a responsibility to an outcome, not just a set of tasks. It’s taking initiative with thoughtful, strategic follow-through.

And it’s necessary at all levels of the hierarchy. Executives high on the org chart can’t really be accountable unless the people who report to them also follow through on their commitments. This a struggle, of course. I have seen leaders direct, question, and plead. I have seen them yell, act passive-aggressively, and throw up their hands in frustration — all in the service of “holding people accountable.”