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What Is Accountability In The Workplace? Be Accountable at work.

By Darren Finkelstein
By Darren Finkelstein

The Accountability Guy®

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Uncertain about how to improve accountability at work? Managers may avoid the subject if they find it upsetting. Teams occasionally go through so much change that meeting productivity goals becomes secondary to helping everyone get through their difficulties.

However, it is detrimental overall to not be intentional about workplace accountability. It’s harmful to workers who might question whether or not they’re giving enough effort. Consider a salesperson who, while not discussing it with a boss, rarely achieves a monitored sales objective.

Additionally, a lack of accountability at work conveys to your workers the idea that standards aren’t really that important.

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What Is Accountability?

Many people define accountability in terms of what it isn’t: attempting to “catch” employees in the act of breaking the law, reporting coworkers, or establishing stringent regulations that are applied in a punishing manner.

This negative strategy promotes a reactive cultur of “management by rules” rather than cultivating a proactive environment of responsibility. Yet there is a better approach.

Establishing and upholding a single expectation among employees at work requires a clear understanding of the mission, values, and objectives of the organization. Employee responsibility refers to making all levels of employees—from hourly part-timers to C-suite executives—responsible for achieving organizational objectives.

Benefits Of Accountability

Almost every facet of work can be impacted by how your team handles accountability.

Accountability helps teams collaborate more efficiently and develops stronger working relationships. It also increases job satisfaction. It gives ICs greater control over their work and encourages better teamwork because everyone knows they can rely on one another to get things done. Teams who have mastered team accountability have stronger performance talks and hold one another more supportively accountable. It motivates people to do more and perform better, and it is inextricably related to outcomes (and revenue). Companies that engage their employees perform better than their rivals, which can lead to a 21% increase in profitability.

Despite these facts, many teams continue to have trouble strengthening their employee responsibility muscles.

Accountability Isn’t About Control

Managers frequently link control with accountability. As a result, managers may use techniques like the following to guide their staff members toward goals:

  • minimum hours
  • strict production regulations
  • examined in great detail key performance indicators (KPIs)

However, that is not how real workplace accountability should operate. An individual must first be responsible for themselves before they can be held accountable to a group. Accountability is an internal task that needs to come from a personal place. Additionally, a manager cannot create intrinsic motivation in a worker.

But as a manager, you can make sure you’re holding yourself accountable to your staff, running smooth operations, and setting a good example. By concentrating on these elements, you may guide your team members and inspire a greater responsibility in them.

Rewards And Punishments

Reward systems and sanctions must be discussed while discussing accountability in the workplace. Improvement is the only goal of accountability, and you cannot achieve improvement without rewards and penalties.

Employees won’t alter their behaviour unless they are motivated by rewards or intimidated by consequences. Your employees will view accountability as a fraud and their performance won’t improve if you don’t take appropriate measures.

An incentive, a pat on the back, or some words of support are all acceptable forms of reward. Contrarily, you can discipline staff members by removing incentives from them or reprimanding them verbally, but please be careful to avoid showing them any disrespect and limit your criticism of their work.

Setting Ckear Exoectations

Although it might seem simple, understanding what your teammates expect from you in the first place is necessary before you can fulfil those expectations.

Say you ask a team member to “finish the project as fast as feasible and to the best standards.” This has a number of drawbacks. To start, you’ll probably get five different replies if you ask five people what “to the highest standards” implies. For some, it might include giving attention to accuracy and fine detail. For others, it entails doing the task quickly and nimbly rather than perfectly. When used with “as soon as possible,” the same issues arise: when does it mean immediately, tomorrow, next week, or perhaps this quarter?

The Takeaway

It is your responsibility as a leader to promote learning so that workers are aware of their responsibilities. Even though creating an accountability culture is not simple, it is not difficult either.

Just determination and a good attitude are needed to make the change acceptable to the workforce. Accountability must be portrayed in a way that permeates your organization’s culture. In the long term, it will help you develop your staff members into leaders, producers, and workers who are more dedicated to their jobs.

Learn more about Accountability in the workplace.