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The case for accountability

As a leader, you understand that a culture of accountability is crucial for the growth and success of your organisation. It’s fundamental to good team performance for everyone to be  taking ownership of their actions and decisions.

In this blog, we will discuss some ways to build a culture of accountability in your organisation.

Why is accountability so important?

Not only does accountability help to ensure that activities are completed on time and to the desired standard, it also generates a culture of trust and responsibility within your team.

When accountability is lacking within a team, the result can be:

– Missed deadlines and targets

– Neglect of top priorities in favour of other, preferred projects

– Lack of preparation for important meetings

– A lack of trust between team members

– Lower productivity or operational non-performance

It is up to leaders and managers to build accountability practices into their leadership style, in order to create that high-ownership environment.

How developing accountability helps create high-performing teams

When team members know that they are responsible for the results of their work, they are more likely to put in the effort required to ensure that those results are positive.

▶ This can lead to a more efficient and effective team that delivers on time and high productivity.

When everyone is responsible for their own actions, it creates a sense of fairness and equality within the team.

▶ This promotes trust, which can lead to better communication and collaboration. Team members are more likely to help each other and work better together towards a common goal.

High levels of responsibility for their own actions means team members are more likely to take ownership of their mistakes and learn from them.

▶ This can lead to a more innovative and forward-thinking team that is always looking for ways to continuously improve and grow.

So why wouldn’t we always do our best as leaders to make this happen?

Why do leaders sometimes not focus on accountability?

There are many reasons why.

But a few of root causes come up often when I’m discussing accountability with coachees:

💥 The leader has too much on their plate

💥 They want to be ‘nice’ and avoid potential for conflict

💥 They don’t realise the implications of a lack of accountability

💥 They find it uncomfortable, holding people to account

How does a leader develop accountability

Here are some suggestions on how to create and build accountability in your direct reports:

1. Clarity.

• Be clear about what you need and expect from your direct reports

• When you think you’ve been clear enough, check that you have been fully understood

• Make sure that they understand their roles and responsibilities

• Ensure they know what you expect of them in terms of performance and behaviour.

2. Feedback:

• Provide your direct reports with regular feedback on their performance

• Make sure they understand what they are doing well and where they need to improve

• Check that your feedback is specific, actionable and delivered in a constructive manner, backed up with examples

• Help and support development to fill in any capability gaps

3. Empower:

• Think about the levels of support and autonomy each person needs, based on their level of skill and experience

• Give your direct reports the right level of authority and autonomy to make decisions and take ownership of their work

• Explain the outcome required but avoid being over-prescriptive about the ‘how’ (otherwise you may find you’re micromanaging)

• Track autonomy as a measure, because when the level of autonomy is right, the individual will feel more invested in their work and more accountable for its success.

4. Hold direct reports accountable:

• Make sure that you have regular discussions in which direct reports are held accountable for their work

• Get them to identify what they need to do to course-correct – coach, guide and support, rather than tell

• When necessary, be clear about the consequences for missed deadlines or poor performance

• Follow through on consequences as necessary

Don’t forget that accountability starts with you as a leader, so make sure that you are modelling the behaviour that you want to see in your team.

So, developing accountability in your team is essential for success, for the team to achieve its goals and maximise its potential.

If you found this article helpful and want to know more about how coaching can help you (or leaders in your organisation) to build accountability, then do get in touch.

You can send a DM on LinkedIn or email me: suzanne@theinnerpotential.com



Get in touch

Contact Suzanne Pullen +44(0)7483 235068 if you wish to discuss this post or any of the services The Inner Potential has to offer