Personal Accountability, Adaptability & Initiative at Work

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  • 0:03 Personal Accountability
  • 1:12 Adaptability
  • 1:55 Initiative
  • 2:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rebekiah Hill

Rebekiah has taught college accounting and has a master's in both management and business.

In business, it is crucial for owners to hire the right people. In this lesson, you will learn about three characteristics of valuable employees: personal accountability, adaptability, and initiative.

Personal Accountability

When you think about the ideal employee, is it a 'take charge' kind of guy? Someone who arrives to work on time and completes his job duties without delay? Someone who admits his wrongs and tries to right them? These kinds of people have the character trait of personal accountability. By definition, personal accountability means to be responsible for your own actions. It means to make choices and live by those choices because you know it is the right thing to do.

For example, Joe works in the customer service line at Jim's Retail Therapy store. It is his job to ensure that sales are rung up and returns are processed correctly. One day, Joe is helping a customer check out, and he forgets to ring up a pair of jeans that were among the customer's purchases. When he realizes his mistake, the customer has already left the store, with the jeans. Joe immediately goes to Jim and tells him what happened. Joe was taking responsibility for his actions. Would Jim have found out about the incident had Joe not been forthcoming? Who knows, but because Joe is accountable for his choices, and he knew it was the right thing to do, he told Jim about his mistake.


Another important characteristic of a good employee is that he is adaptable. Being adaptable means that a person can function in whatever environment he may be in and can handle whatever tasks he is given. He can, in a sense, roll with the punches. We already know that Joe works in the customer service department at Jim's Retail Therapy.

At times, Jim needs Joe to work in other departments as well. Joe has worked in the lawn and garden department, men's clothing, and even the grounds keeping department. Sometimes, Jim gives him a completely new task. Joe is able and willing to work any place that Jim asks him because he has the gift of adaptability. Having an employee who is adaptable is a plus for any company.

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