Personal Accountability, Adaptability & Initiative at Work

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next:

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:03 Personal Accountability
  • 1:12 Adaptability
  • 1:55 Initiative
  • 2:50 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
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.


The third characteristic of a top-notch worker is initiative. Initiative, in a literal sense, means to act on your own, without being told to do so. It is the 'get up and go' that a person has; the ability to see what needs to be done and do it. An employee with initiative takes an active part in making sure that a job gets done - and done to the best of its ability. He doesn't just do the bare minimum to get the job done, he gives it his all. Let's look at Joe again.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account