ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Have you ever heard the expression, “Are you working hard or hardly working?”This is usually said in a joking manner and gets a laugh or two. Unfortunately, there are some who prefer to “hardly work” or to work the system.In a sense, this phrase speaks to accountability in the work place.In order to have a successful and efficient work environment, we must have accountability in the workplace, from both supervisors and subordinates. Every employee in an organization is accountable for the success of that organization.Accountability in the workplace includes such things as:• Completing the tasks you are assigned• Being responsible for performing the duties of your position• Being present on duty during your assigned shift in order to perform your assigned duties.That may sound a lot like responsibility. Well, responsibility is a part of accountability.Employees are responsible for doing certain things during their duty day; however, they are not, necessarily, held accountable.If employees in an organization, both supervisors and subordinates, are held accountable, it is likely the organization will be successful.You may say you can’t make people be accountable. Employees can be held accountable for their actions, and working environments can be structured to foster accountability.One way to build an accountable organization is to ensure employees have support, including the resources, knowledge and assistance needed to perform their job duties and clarity on the roles of responsibility in the organization.Employees want to know their voices will be heard and their concerns addressed by management in a timely manner.Being accountable means being able to explain why we did what we did. It also means taking responsibility for the outcome.If a heavy mobile equipment mechanic’s work is backed up/held up, the next person may be waiting, meaning they cannot produce the product in a timely manner.The mechanic will be held accountable. He may be expected to explain what happened and make necessary adjustments so the work can flow smoothly out of his work area to the next stage in the operation. He may also be asked to find solutions to make the process work smoother.If a product is not up to quality expectations, an employee should be held accountable for the lack of quality.The annual appraisal/performance evaluation is one way of measuring accountability.The objectives set at the beginning of the rating period define the expected goals/outcomes.How well the employee performs in relation to those goals determines the extent to which the mission succeeds. Thus, to an extent, accountability.When employees take accountability for their actions, they are more likely to exceed expectations because they take “ownership” of the process and put their heart, mind and soul into the process.In the workplace, employee behavior and performance, both positive and negative, should have consequences.Good behavior and good performance should warrant positive consequences. On the other hand, bad behavior (misconduct) or poor performance should produce negative consequences.Workplace rules, and the consequences for not following them, should be known and understood by all employees.If an employee does not follow the rules, appropriate action should be taken to correct the behavior. That may require the supervisor to impose informal or formal disciplinary measures. In the end, we all should be held accountable for our actions.Next time someone asks you what you’re doing while you are at work, think about this quote: “You either make yourself accountable or you will be made accountable by your circumstances.” (Author unknown)As a final point, you should not dread going to work and working nine hours a day. It should be something you like, if not love.When we are accountable and are held accountable, our workdays are more productive and enjoyable/satisfying. Let’s make a commitment to being accountable and encourage others to do the same. After all, to quote President Truman, for each of us, “the buck stops here.”