“Account-ability leads to response-ability.”
How do you foster accountability in the workplace? Some employees seem to embrace responsibility, show initiative, and own their projects, without any extra actions from you, their leader. It’s your job to show all of your team members that positive things happen when they embrace accountability in your workplace. And here’s how.
- Strike a balance between freedom and control. Give your team the ability to choose the correct path to solve workplace problems, within the larger organizational structure. After the first set of obvious solutions have come up, help your team come up with secondary solutions that will build on the first. Give them the floor, and they may surprise you.
- Ensure that roles are clearly defined. Clear expectations are the seed for personal accountability and ownership. People struggle with accountability when their roles are not obvious.
- Glorify team results! You can spread accountability to entire teams by focusing on successful processes, helping the entire team work toward a common goal, and ensuring that they each feel 100% accountable for the results. Make sure each team member is obligated to report progress and engage in the process.
- Who will you punish? No one! Singling out team members or employees for reprimand will only hinder your efforts of fostering an environment of accountability. If others hear that risk-taking may be punished, you can bet that they will draw into their shell. As we all know, disengaged employees lead to break down of the entire team.
- How about you? Show your own accountability to the goals you set for your team, with each meeting. Make yourself part of the progress reports, to convey the importance of everyone’s accountability.
- Use evaluations. Make progress evaluations a clear expectation, and always follow through on them. Use multiple forms of feedback to assess employee success.
- What about integrity? Put that into your list of clarifications, at every kick-off meeting. Even if it should be expected by now, it’s worth repeating that you hold your team to a high standard of integrity. Ensure that people do what they say they will -that includes you!
Finally, as a leader, consider each decision as a builder of trust or fear. With each fork in the road, consider, “Is this decision going to build trust in my team or foster fear?” If fear is the answer, find a new direction.
“Professional accountability is a good thing. Without it, excellence is merely a pipe dream and even average performance isn’t a realistic expectation.”
~Lee Ellis, Author
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