How does one person get promoted in a workplace? Is it because of their long stay with the company? Their loyalty? Their dedication towards their work? Is consistently hitting your goals enough for you to be promoted?

Depending on the nature of the business, most companies reward their employees with incentives and perks but being promoted is the ultimate reward that can be given to an employee.

It states appreciation of the employee’s work for the company and intends to keep him as the business goes further along.

While there are a lot of factors to be considered for employment promotion, most get noticed more who have proven responsible and accountable.


What is the difference between responsible and accountable?

Merriam-Webster defines Responsible as

“a : liable to be called on to answer

b (1) : liable to be called to account as the primary cause, motive, or agent

  • a committee responsible for the job

(2) : being the cause or explanation

  • mechanical defects were responsible for the accident

c : liable to legal review or in case of fault to penalties“

and Accountable as
“subject to giving an account : answerable

  • held her accountable for the damage

2 : capable of being explained : explainable

  • … leaving aside variations accountable as printer’s errors …
  • —Peter Shaw“

A good example of responsibility is job assignment. It is Ira’s responsibility to come up with designs and social media posts 3 times a week. Ira is obliged to follow through those posts and he would only be held accountable if he comes up short on mentioned weekly task.

Another example of responsibility is ensuring that the task given is completed in a given time frame while accountability is taking ownership of one’s actions or decisions. One way to look at it is most of the time in a workplace, accountability would be called when one did not follow through on his responsibilities.

Note that responsibility is usually assigned by a superior while accountability is acceptance (of the results of the tasks performed).

Why Do I Need To Be Fully Responsible and Accountable

Displaying responsibility and accountability is a great sign of maturity. Even though you failed to deliver an assigned task but you owned up to it and straight saying “It’s my fault. I’m accountable.”, bosses will notice that a most of the time, admire it.

I always practice being responsible and accountable in my workplace. Whenever I haven’t done anything I’m asked to do, before even my boss asking for it, I always tell in advance that I failed in projecting the timeline accurately and need more time to finish it. Whether it’s code complexity or tools being down, I don’t give excuses and own up to it.

Whenever I fail to do something, I always say to myself “I should have known better. I now have experience of this and I don’t want to experience this again.”

In my previous job, we had a project that is being worked on by multiple teams and I was one of the project leaders. Our CEO called me and asked me about a module in the project not being delivered on time. I had no idea that there was a mishap so I couldn’t answer. All I told him was I’ll find out what happened and I will work with the other teams to resolve it. Before hanging up, he said “I know it’s not your fault. I know you. If it was you, you would have told me.”


It’s a bitter pill to swallow in telling your boss that you screwed up but one way or the other, he will know. Instead of blaming others, own up to your mistakes and improve so it won’t happen again. In my CEO’s head, he’d know it was me because my history says while I’m haven’t been perfect in performing my responsibilities, I’m accountable nonetheless.

It didn’t take a long time and I got promoted to a project manager and the words responsibility and accountability were mentioned when the promotion was given to me.

Some tips to display responsibility:

Practice “Give and Take”

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been with the company. You do not know everything. At some point, you have asked someone for help. Reciprocate that and share your knowledge and expertise. You don’t have to wait to be asked when you see someone that’s struggling with something you know you can help with, take the opportunity to help out.

Be Energetic and Never throw an Attitude

Bring out that energy out especially when you’re at your workplace. Always be happy to help out or lend a helping hand to your co-workers. There are employees who always throw an attitude when given work, don’t be like them. Take the work with a smile on your face because let’s face it, you really can’t say no to your boss and frowning at them won’t do you any good.

In most cases, being energetic is contagious. Your co-workers will start doing the same because of you. It makes a workplace harmonious and a nice place to spend 8 or more hours in.

Man smiling in office

Maintain Discipline

It takes a great will in order to follow a discipline but ensure that you discipline yourself to work when at work. Do not be tempted to browse the internet which will make your 5 minutes of checking out cute dogs to hours. This will stray you from being productive and that is not being responsible at all.

Be Productive

On any given day, ensure that you are productive. Plan out your day ahead and follow it. I keep an Excel file with me which I can enter what I plan to do at what day and what time because I have a lot to do every day, I always check on it to see if I have done what I intend to do.

Career Building

Don’t just be an 8-5 employee who sits there and drag the day waiting for the clock to strike 5. Treat your job as a career and your company is your partner. If the company does great, chances are the employees get rewarded as well. If you have done your job diligently and have shown responsibility, you might be up for promotion.

Inform And Ask

Never assume that your boss will know that you are aiming for a position or you want to be promoted. Let your intentions be clear by informing your boss that you want to be promoted then ask what do you need to do to be considered.

One of my mentors told me a story before that there was one employee who worked hard day in and day out in the hopes that he will be one day promoted but never got to and had seen his co-workers being promoted before him or the company hiring from outside for a position he desired.



My mentor gave him a clear advice saying ask his boss. The next day he asked his boss the question and the answer he got was “I didn’t know you wanted the position, if I knew it, I wouldn’t have given it to Mike. I thought you were okay with the yearly salary raise and you didn’t want take on more responsibilities.”

Inform your boss your intentions and start working on acquiring the skills needed to be promoted.

It is your responsibility to yourself to ensure that you’ve done everything you can to help yourself. Being responsible is not the only thing you need to be promoted but it will help you in great lengths not just at work but generally in life.

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