Let me start by clarifying that ‘accountable’ does not mean ‘blame’. It means we, as individuals, own what we need to do and what we need to get other people to do. As leaders, being able to hold others as well as ourselves accountable means an increase in commitment to work and employee morale. This in turn leads to higher performances.
Companies and its leaders have to build, live and breathe a culture of accountability consistently. We’ve all witnessed the famous ‘we need to hold people more accountable’ speech when things are not going well. Often, we aim this at our teams and fail to look toward our leaders for accountability…Why is that? Why is it that when your numbers are down, WIP folder is empty, and targets are not met – it feels easy to call your team out but not yourself? Failing to reflect and look inward can be damaging to your credibility as a leader.
First thing’s first!
How have you contributed in terms of accountability? Ask yourself:
• Have I been clear about my expectations?
• Have I asked what I can do to help when analysing the trends?
• Have I been honest and transparent throughout all of my conversations?
• Have I tracked and measured progress regularly, or did I miss the early warning signs?
Something else to consider is if you’ve built a safe enough environment for your team to be able to openly hold themselves accountable, when and where needed.
Let me reiterate, ‘accountability’ does not mean ‘blame’.
In order to create a culture of accountability you must:
• Be open to feedback and problem solving
• Coach employees, at all levels, on how to be accountable
• Hold each other accountable – Leaders hold other leaders accountable, team members hold each other accountable, employees hold their leaders accountable and so on…
In a culture of accountability, people at every level of the organisation will feel personally committed to their responsibilities and value them.
To begin building on your accountability skills start with these three steps:
1. Be honest
Set pride aside. If you need help, ask for it. If you’ve made a mistake, admit it!
2. Don’t overcommit
Taking on too much will likely cause you to miss a deadline. Be realistic about what you can fit into your workload.
Accountability creates opportunities to learn from your behaviours. So, be sure to get feedback and ask yourself, ”what could I have done differently?”
Written by Sahar Habib
Founder of Coach Wilson