Accountability in the workplace is recognized by all as a critical component for success. I once had a supervisor who was razor-focused on accountability. It was part of every conversation, call, meeting and email. The problem was that we never did anything to achieve accountability other than talk about it. All talk and no action is a sure way to fail. So, as a manager, how do you successfully promote a culture of accountability?
Workplace accountability is defined as the responsibility of employees to complete the tasks assigned and duties as required in order to fulfill or further the goals of the organization. As a manager, displaying personal accountability promotes a culture of accountability. Your team is likely to emulate your actions and follow your example of accountable behavior. As an employee not in a management role, demonstrating personal accountability is important to demonstrating their value to the organization. The key to a culture of accountability is based on the following:
- a true understanding of accountability
- a consistent and equitable expectation of accountability
- a process for assessment and communication
Where to begin? Ensure that each member of your team has a solid understanding of his/her role, responsibilities and performance expectations. Be specific with the processes and methodologies used to achieve these expectations. Set SMART goals for each employee. Draw the correlation between the employee’s specific responsibilities and the goals and objectives of the organization. Each employee must understand how they contribute to the overall mission of their department and company. Each team member must be able to explain how their tasks and responsibilities impact the overall performance of the team.
Next, ensure that performance expectations are equitable and consistent among the entire team. A sure way to damage employee morale is to hold inconsistent expectations throughout your team. To demonstrate higher expectations for certain individuals will corrupt the overall sense of teamwork and will impact productivity. In time, this lack of consistent accountability will tend to have the greatest impact on your strongest employees. Recognize and reward good performance. Implement incentives for going above and beyond and the achievement of team goals.
Finally, provide frequent and consistent feedback to your employees, highlighting achievements as well as areas in need of improvement. Work with the individual to formulate a plan that will lead to the desired improvements. Utilize the available data to present a clear picture and build achievable goals These meetings are also valuable in establishing rapport with each team member and a way to convey your commitment to their success. Establish a consistent team meeting to communicate overall performance. During the team meetings, take the time to identify shared challenges and achievements. This dual approach will reinforce the need for personal accountability toward the achievement of team goals and performance.
Creating a culture of accountability will not only result in improved outcomes, it will deliver the satisfaction of true teamwork. It certainly takes effort – but, is totally worth it.
“Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to results.” – Bob Proctor