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Steps in Fostering Accountability in the Workplace

By Darren Finkelstein
By Darren Finkelstein

The Accountability Guy®

Home » Accountability » Steps in Fostering Accountability in the Workplace
Successful business team working on a project in the office

Accountability is indeed a simple concept. In fact, if you ask me about solutions to practice accountability in the workplace, my answer would be to start practising accountability within oneself. 

Being accountable is nothing but taking authority of one’s own actions and decisions without the need to urge, beg, or encourage them. It implies voluntarily owning up to their position in different situations instead of pointing fingers at others. All in all, taking responsibility for oneself is accountability.

That being said, you must already realise the importance of a culture of accountability in the workplace. Let me take you through a few useful steps to help foster accountability in your organisation. 

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Establish Broad and Specific Goals

Expectations should be clearly defined across the company and then for every project. With distinct, measurable goals, employees can be clear about the accomplishment they are to make. 

Setting these well-defined goals is critical to an employee’s onboarding process. This is because newbies often get bombarded with a load of information. There are online platforms to hold employees accountable to training resources by keeping track of their progress. 

Make Comprehensive Job Descriptions

Research says that 10% of employees felt that their inability to perform up to their potential is the poor description of their job. It is crucial to ensure that all employees know their responsibilities on a day in, day out basis.

Communicate With Employees About What They Need

Accountability should go both ways. Employees are entitled to need particular resources to complete their tasks. It is, therefore, the management’s responsibility to provide these requirements to the employees. 

Ensure Necessary Resources

The employees of an organisation don’t shun accountability because they always try to pass the blame to others. Sometimes they may fail to realise their own mistake and that things did not work out as planned. 

A well accountable team is also well supported. This means that the external requirements need to be best fulfilled. Once this need is met, personal accountability is all that’s left. 

Whether the team has all the tools and software to complete this task, are they working in a realistic timeline in the current bandwidth, does the team have access to the expertise, and supplemental materials required are the boxes to be checked. 

If these requirements aren’t fulfilled, I think you’re significantly jeopardising your team’s ability to perform accountably. This is because not all barriers are within their control.

Work on Your Feedback Skills

Giving critical feedback is not always easy. It is a skill you can improve over time. As a manager of your organisation, it is typical to deal with giving feedback. When you regularly give feedback, tough feedback seems like a cakewalk.

This way, you lessen the chances of your feedback hitting your employees directly by surprise, which may otherwise lead to further disengagement. 

Create a Culture of Two-way Feedback

Now that you’ve done the difficult part of giving tough feedback, it is time to be open to being on the receiving end of it. Fostering a two-way feedback culture in the workspace allows your employees to feel that they are in a safe place and can speak up for their opinions. Providing a space where they can give and receive feedback is one way to prevent them from disengagement. 

Empower Your Team

Micromanaging in a team does not work. It monopolises time spent on your business rather than in it. When you remain busy in your day-to-day operations, reactivity gets to you instead of proactiveness. This won’t help your business move ahead in the competition. 

Trust should be in the roots of the team. You have hired your team and, therefore, let them do their job by encouraging them. Empower your team to take the initiative. As a result, your team member will hold themselves accountable for their responsibilities. You never know, they may outshine your expectations!


Encourage Risk-Taking in the Workplace

When a work issue prevails, fear of punishment can lead to negative behaviour among employees. Most of the team may actively get involved in playing the blame game than take responsibility for the unfortunate situation. 

Rather than finger-pointing, establish a culture of trust, collaboration, and transparency. This is only possible when you encourage taking risks within the team and discouraging unguaranteed plans. Failures are followed by success via creative problem-solving. 

Motive your team to think outside the box and take risks even when you may not reach a great conclusion. However, it would still make a significant contribution to a healthy culture of learning.


Wrapping Up

It takes structures and processes among people to instil the habit of accountability in a team of workmates. Accountability makes it easier to act responsibly. It encourages people to travel the extra mile to see personal progress. 

In this scenario, personal progress leads to team growth. While personal progress is individually coached and praised, team growth is reflected in the growth of an organisation.

Leaders cannot force anybody to develop a sense of accountability. However, as managers, they can foster conditions of personal commitment by shaping an organisational structure promoting responsibility.