Accountability in leadership establishes clear guidelines to follow for you, your management, and your team. By being held responsible for accomplishing goals or tasks, you allow everyone to stay on track and continue growing and achieving. But establishing this kind of ownership and responsibility can be challenging. As a leader, to be held answerable to others and expect the same from your team takes courage and honesty. But if you can create this type of accountable environment, your business will flourish.
Accountability is being willing to accept responsibility or be answerable for actions or activities, disclosing them in transparency. Therefore, leaders are accountable if they take full ownership of both their successes and failures.
Here is what research has shown about accountability:
- You cannot force people to be accountable
- You learn accountability from the environment and the people with whom you work
- Punishment does not build accountability but instead, distrust and avoidance, as well as poor results and increased turnover
Benefits of Accountability Within Leadership
Accountability positively impacts an organization. It establishes a culture of trust, connection, and high performance. When you design the environment for accountability, it thrives.
Other benefits of accountability in the workplace include:
- Improved performance and productivity
- Greater job satisfaction
- Increased employee commitment
- More creativity and innovation
- Positive feelings of competency
- Improved participation
- Longer retention
Challenges in Accountability
One of the most significant difficulties for leaders is that accountability is an internal decision made by individuals for themselves. They have to own up to what they did and want to take responsibility. If stirring your employees to be accountable is challenging, this can negatively impact your entire organization.
You might be lacking accountability if you’re experiencing:
- Low morale
- Unclear priorities
- Less engagement
- Decreased trust and respect
- Employees leaving the organization
But if leaders can create a culture where their team answers for their actions, the business will grow and succeed in greater capacities.
We’ve discovered seven key ways to build accountability within your organization, helping you and your team achieve more.
7 Ways to Build an Accountable Working Environment
- Establish clear roles, team direction, and individual management.
- Create a sense of ownership.
- Give people the freedom to make decisions. Support their work by making sure they have the resources, knowledge, and assistance they need.
- Avoid punishment, focusing instead on corrective actions as a mentor.
- Pursue improvement by determining what’s working and what’s not and analyze the causes. Look at systems, processes, and other factors before examining individuals.
- Provide feedback and evaluation along the way instead of waiting until the end of a project or established period of time.
- Hold people responsible. If someone fails to deliver, the person should be “taken aside,” then debriefed as to why the objective was not achieved. Do not allow the individual to blame others. When anyone falls short, they should be encouraged to admit it and move forward. The leader’s role is to help them up, address the root issue, dust them off, and move ahead to experience improvement and growth.
As a leader, do you and your team have clear, established guidelines and boundaries, experiencing an environment that fosters accountability? If not, we can help! Here at Belfield, our team has over 170 years of cumulative experience. As a result, we can help equip your leadership team with the tools needed to achieve your vision. Experience the Belfield difference!