Performance review phrases – Accountability

Accountability is a core competency, meaning the obligation of an individual to account for his/her actions, accept responsibility for them. Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses. Such people may become very imaginative when asked to explain the sub-par results of their work. Blaming others for their mistakes or shortcomings is a common way to escape responsibility.

In order to use the performance review phrases below, think of a time when the employee was not accountable. The best way to talk about it in the review is to site an example.  Here are a few key performance review phrases, both positive and negative ones.


  1. It is such a remarkable characteristic of Robert to recognize and comply with his responsibilities in performing his job.
  2. George never refuses to take responsibility for his group’s actions.
  3. Jeremy considers himself accountable for his team’s performance objectives.
  4. The quality of Jimmy’s work is above any expectations.
  5. Maria is one of the most punctual and responsible people in the team.
  6. Anna always demonstrates full commitment to the job.
  7. Phoebe finds a systematic and thorough approach for any type of assignment.
  8. Jeremy has shown exemplary performance in stressful situations.
  9. George exceeds performance goals most of the time.
  10. Hugh is the type of person that commits to getting the job done under any circumstances.

Exceeds Requirements/More than Satisfactory:

  1. Jessica is very helpful in assisting other members of her team in doing tasks assigned to the whole group.
  2. Robert is known as a very responsible person who is always determined to fulfill his tasks.
  3. Sara is always ready to assists members of her team.
  4. Donald submits all paperwork assigned to him according to the requirements without any failures.
  5. Ron perfectly handles all projects and assignments regardless of their complexity.
  6. We can fully rely on Harry since he has never failed us.
  7. James is good at recognizing his mistakes and never repeats them.
  8. Claire carefully listens to teammates and takes their ideas into account.
  9. Vladimir is highly responsible and delivers 100% of his effort all the time.
  10. Clara sets the highest standards for her teammates.

Meets Expectations/Satisfactory:

  1. John understands the responsibility of his role and ownership of his tasks and deadlines.
  2. Brian is willing to accept constructive feedback and works hard to own his own personal weaknesses.
  3. Terry is such an accountable person at work. He feels responsible for everything he does and always admits his mistakes.
  4. Jennifer has a very accountable attitude and never evades her responsibility.
  5. Lisa holds all the employees accountable for their own results.
  6. Bruce tries to be as helpful to the whole team as it is possible.
  7. Maria can be fully trusted even with the hardest tasks.
  8. Teddy can recognize his mistakes and takes ownership of his tasks and deadlines.
  9. Marta is not afraid of challenges and responsibilities.
  10. Rachel is a very reliable worker. She truly cares about her job, colleagues, and the whole company.

Provisional/Needs Improvement:

  1. Sometimes Maria shows a very low accountability and cannot focus at work.
  2. Julia needs to pay much more attention to her work.
  3. Peter lacks patience to deal with exhausting challenges.
  4. Julia always thinks of excuses for why her work has not been delivered on time.
  5. Terry is very reluctant to accept his failure. He has such a low accountability at work.
  6. Alex always gives excuses for his failure to objective circumstances instead of his own fault.
  7. Samantha tends to make numerous excuses when it comes to the quality of her work.
  8. Marta never listens to the others and tries her own solutions even if they are not the best.
  9. Emily always provides excuses when failing on tasks and deadlines.
  10. Juliet is not willing to help her colleagues to complete tasks assigned to the whole team.


  1. Saul never fails to submit his work within the deadline.
  2. Joshua always blames other team members for the things that he should be responsible for.
  3. Terry is quick to point fingers in heated situations.
  4. Kerry often blames internal procedures and policies for her failure.
  5. Terry blames everyone but himself when he cannot perform the task on time.
  6. Harry often takes credit for efforts taken by his teammates.
  7. Saul’s accountability leaves much to be desired.
  8. John has never shown any will to help his colleagues.
  9. Tony likes to point the finger at others in difficult situations
  10. Camilla blames her coworkers when mistakes are made.



Finding a key performance review phrase to describe a person’s lack of accountability can be difficult as there are several types of accountability to consider. For instance, it may be ethical accountability when an employee does not hold the principles and the values of the company. Alternatively, it may be administrative accountability when an employee does not follow the rules within the organization or not adhere to the department standards.

Not only you have to come up with performance review phrases to tell such employees exactly where they have not taken responsibility for their work, but you also need to be very careful and make sure you are doing your part to manage this type of an employee.

Accountability is difficult to measure as it is hard to understand why some people tend not to own up to their mistakes and just do the work that you are asking them to do. As a possible way to develop this skill and combat unaccountable behavior, you can have the team members think through any “hurdles or challenges” of the task once it is assigned, and lay out a plan to anticipate and reduce any excuses they are giving. If the excuse is identified prior to the task being given, it will be harder for the person to blame the failure on that particular hurdle. Consequently, it will make the person more accountable for how results of the work.

Whatever the accountability problem is, it can also be combated by setting SMART objectives for this employee.  SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Based goals. Be very specific with what the employee is required to do. Make these objectives measurable in order to track their progress. The tasks should also be achievable and relevant, and people should have a strict timeframe to complete them.

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