It might as well be dirty word, a vernacular that should not be used in a place of business. This seems to be the sentiment of most employees. The general feeling is that accountability is a variable at best or elusive for most.
Holding yourself accountable or being accountable is tightly linked to your behavioral capacity to confront lack of accountability. It makes for uncomfortable moments when you have to discuss failure to account or accomplish a defined expectation. Most of us will avoid confrontation by all means instead be passive aggressive or just ignore it all together.
Each time we fail to account as leaders, we lose the opportunity to learn and advance. Instead we keep the wheels spinning without moving an inch. In actuality, we are taking steps backwards each time especially with employees who are self-accountable and likely your high performers. It actuality, your credibility (refer to blog 4/22/2017) is at stake each time the right thing is not done.
How can we become accountable in the workplace?
Let’s start by laying a foundation of clarity, by defining your expectations including the consequences for non-performance together with your staff member. Such a conversation will be easy with self starters and high performers however you will have your hands full with both the middle and low performers.
One fact is known about the human race, we are most likely to produce if we set the expectations ourselves. Therefor, as a leader, your job is to bring into context the larger objective and work with your staff member to develop what he/she is going to contribute. By setting the outcome goal and allowing this employee to define how he/she is going to contribute to accomplishing this goal, you are building a psychological contract that is more likely to get you the desired results.
Lastly, depending on the level of team member, you will need to have accountability check-ins to ensure that they remain on track to be accountable.
None of this will work unless you as a leader learn to provide constructive feedback and make time to be accountable yourself.
Accountability is not about punishment but rather about performance. Too much time is spent in contemplation and not enough time in holding open discussion and finding ways to be accountable and successful together.