Accountability Starts With You
In my work as an executive coach, I have the opportunity to speak with business leaders and managers across multiple industries about their challenges. One topic that is always difficult to broach is accountability. According to a Harvard Business Review survey, almost 50 percent of managers struggle with accountability. Yet, they want accountability to be a stronger leadership action in their organization.
What is Accountability
Accountability is that quality of personal responsibility and ownership. Accountability can be difficult to establish and easy to lose. No manager or organization can be “somewhat accountable.” It requires a commitment at all levels within and throughout the organization.
Frequently, accountability links a negative connotation — blame or judgment. Perhaps you define “accountability” as that person who is to be blamed for something gone wrong.
A Different Perspective
My perspective on accountability is different. I view it as the ability a person has to provide focus and direction on an initiative, make critical decisions, and gain support from others to achieve success.
Stephen Covey said it well, Accountability breeds response-ability.
4 Tips to Promote Accountability
1. Starts with you. You need to model the behaviors that you want to see in your organization. If you want people to take ownership, then do what you say you’re going to do. You have to walk the talk with reliability and consistency.
2. Make your expectations clear. Be clear about the behavior or actions that you expect from your team members. Don’t make assumptions. Ask team members what they may need from you to make the project successful. It’s then, that they can take full ownership.
3. Empower others. Step aside from directing your team and empower them to get the job done. Demonstrate your trust for them and one another.
4. Build a learning environment. Acknowledge that mistakes do happen. Rather than overreact when someone drops the ball; build an environment where people learn from mistakes. Likewise, take responsibility for these teachable moments. Without accountability, no one learns from the mistakes.
Accountability must be authentic and consistent. It’s not something that you mandate and it happens. Accountability is something that has to be worked at.
It starts with you, and it has to apply at all times and to everyone.