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Personal accountability in the workplace is a very important characteristic to hold. It’s important that we speak up when we’ve made a mistake and we learn to face consequences when necessary instead of pointing a finger at an innocent bystander. Accountability can include anything from being accountable for yourself to being accountable to leaders in charge of you. If you aren’t in a management position then demonstrating accountability will make you an indispensable commodity.

On the opposite end, if you are in a management position demonstrating personal accountability will help build the right type of professional culture for your company. You are always the role model for other employees and if you’re showing personal accountability, those below you will too.

Workplace accountability is important for many reasons. Without accountability there is no way a company could succeed. It’s important that each employee is equally responsible for improving the company and helping it grow. In order to achieve larger company goals everyone must work together and be the best employee they can be- this includes being accountable.

There are ways to help increase employee accountability. These include:

Incentives: By offering incentives to employees they push themselves to reach goals you’d want them to reach and they are benefited for their behavior.

Setting goals: When employees set goals they need to use the SMART goals method. This means that the goals are specific, measurable, achievable, have sure results and have a specific end date. This criteria allows employees to make realistic goals that keep them motivated to succeed.

Opportunity: Employees want to know that they are being recognized for their work; when it comes to accountability it’s fair to make this a huge factor of giving opportunities to move up in the company. This will keep employees focused on being their best “them” so they can continue with the company.

But, you say, accountability is intrinsic! You can’t force people to be accountable! True, but we learn from the people around us. When the work environment is designed for accountability, it will flourish. When it’s not, you’ll get stellar work from a few people – until they stop making the effort or leave for another job.

An accountable workplace won’t appear overnight, but the right elements must be in place. Where do you need to invest your time and attention to build an environment of accountability?

According to an article written by Henry Browning here are seven ways to build accountable organisations.

1. Clear roles, team leadership and individual ownership. People struggle to be accountable when roles and processes are ambiguous. Removing as much confusion as possible about who is doing what and how they will proceed is an important step. If a team is truly accountable, members will identify gaps, learn new roles and processes, and ultimately build a more capable team.

2. A sense of ownership for team results. How does team accountability work? Focus on team processes. How is the team working toward goals and outcome? Are team members effective? Do they feel 100 percent accountable to improving the process? Each member should have the obligation to seek information, give and receive feedback and point out the need for corrective action at any time.

3. Freedom, support and control to navigate competing priorities. Most problems have multiple right answers, so give people the freedom and control they need to make decisions. The first solutions your teams and direct reports come up with will probably be pretty good. Improve upon them instead of inserting your own. Support is the key – be sure people have the resources, knowledge and assistance they need. With this approach, team members increase their skills, confidence and ownership.


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