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Accountability in workplace – How employees, managers and leaders practice accountability in real-life

By Darren Finkelstein
By Darren Finkelstein

The Accountability Guy®

Accountability is a crucial aspect of any successful organization! Managers, employees, and leaders together form the culture of accountability in any organization. An individual is not only responsible for creating this culture or the norm, but it depends on how everyone adapts to the golden rules of accountability. Accountability encourages ownership, responsible behavior, transparency, open-door policy, and self-discipline. As we talk more and more about accountability, it all sounds perfect, but what happens in a real-life scenario? We want to discuss that today. So, we will discuss the real-life system in different settings: employees, managers, and leaders. So, let us discuss each aspect, but first, let us understand what accountability looks like in the workplace.

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What does accountability look like in the workplace?

Accountability at the workplace means all the employees, managers, and leaders have clarity on what they are expected to perform, their duties, and what they can expect from the organization. Accountable culture will be formulated effectively if the communication channels are transparent and open; we see managers are available to listen to their employee’s ideas and brainstorm sessions and also, and they will stand up for their team’s failures. Individuals will be responsible for their actions, decisions, and performance. The culture of accountability will enrich the relationship among the team members, the team’s performance will improve significantly, and outcomes will be better. Now, let’s look at what accountability at the employee level would look like.

How employees can practice accountability

Employees are the key to successful lead and revenue generation; they are the ones who would be at the customer front. Build strong customer relationships and provide the best service that the customer deserves. Therefore, when we look at accountability at their level, then we mean the following key development factors:

  • Understanding and gaining clarity about the job they are expected to perform is the first step as they begin to work in any organization. Therefore, the primary step is understanding the importance of their role and duties in the organization.
    ⦁ One would notice empowerment in making the right decision to provide the best outcomes and services to the customer. Therefore, making the right decision at the right is another crucial aspect of being accountable.
    ⦁ One would notice proactive behavior in resolving challenges and being prepared for further challenges to ensure they meet their targets. Therefore, working towards the results in proper plan and road map.
    ⦁ Building a good relationship with team members and managers is another critical role of an employee to be accountable.
    ⦁ Finally, taking ownership of their actions, decisions, and behavior is another aspect of being accountable at the employee level.

How managers can practice accountability

Managers groom future accountable managers from their teams; therefore, they play an essential role in setting up exemplary examples of accountability in front of their team members. The managers will teach them to become self-disciplined and proactive and build stronger relationships. So, these are the following characteristics of an accountable manager:

  • Give clarity to team members about the job roles and duties they are required to perform. This step is vital in providing clarity to employees about what is expected of them.
    ⦁ Set exemplary accountability standards so they can become role models in front of their employees. Therefore they can demonstrate how accountable they can be in self-discipline, proactive thinking, goal setting, and building stronger relations.
    ⦁ As team managers, standing up for the teams’ failures and mistakes, they must demonstrate ownership as the critical behavior to protect their teams.
    ⦁ As a manager providing and seeking feedback, it is essential to conduct feedback sessions to ensure that the employees improve and develop for the next role. But as they are giving feedback, it is equally critical for them to accept the feedback from their seniors and teams, to demonstrate that feedback is welcomed.

How leaders can practice accountability

Leaders are the main reason an organization sets its golden rules or critical values. They are the main factors behind forming an open-door policy, bringing transparency, and creating an accountable culture in the organization. They can set great examples in front of their management. So, here are the critical aspects of responsible behavior demonstrated by the leaders of the organization.

  • Setting the culture of accountability in the organization, the leaders can help the organization identify the key accountable behaviors expected from everyone; therefore, they will demonstrate responsible examples.
    ⦁ Accountable leaders must bring transparency and good communication standards to the organization’s culture. Therefore, they will encourage sharing of clarity and information at all levels, because of which managers and employees would understand their importance in the organization.
    ⦁ They are providing essential resources to their managers and employees to ensure that they can meet their targets or get coaching on accountability and understand the need for that coaching.


For employees, managers, and leaders, accountability has to be practiced across the board, whether it is about just one individual or at different levels. It is not a top-down approach, but leaders provide their employees with all the resources and training to keep learning, stay engaged, and be loyal to the organization. Employees and managers follow the guidelines set by the leaders and then set the standards of accountable behavior.