Accountability in the workplace means that all employees are responsible for their actions, behaviours, performance and decisions. It’s also linked to an increase in commitment to work and employee morale, which leads to higher performance. However, accountability is lacking in many workplaces.
Accountability in the (new virtual) workplace
Accountability is about ownership and initiative. This means that when an employee says they will do something, they follow through and get it done. It’s recognizing that other team members are dependant on the results of your work. It’s about open, proactive communication to keep team members informed of the status of your commitments because it has a direct impact on their ability to achieve their own commitments.
Taking ownership at work is about taking initiative and doing the right thing for the business. It’s about taking responsibility for results and not assuming it’s someone else’s responsibility. It’s the opposite of passing the buck.
Ultimately, when team members consistently demonstrate ownership and accountability, trust is formed. You trust someone will do the right thing and trust that they’ll do what they said they’d do. Trust is the backbone of high-performing teams.
What happens when there’s no accountability?
It damages the team.
When people are not accountable, one person’s delay becomes the team’s delay. One shortfall snowballs into bigger shortfalls. Tolerating missed deadlines, lack of punctuality and unfinished work have the tendency to make this behaviour “no big deal.” People learn that the real deadline is a week from the published one; that consistently being 10 minutes late for a meeting is the norm; that sub-par work is acceptable. Your team suffers, and ultimately your workplace culture suffers. too.
Having a member of the team that isn’t meeting their commitments and isn’t being held accountable causes frustration and disengagement with the rest of the team.
According to Partners In Leadership, a lack of accountability in the workplace leads to:
- Low team morale
- Unclear priorities across the team
- Employees become less engaged
- The team or individual is not meeting goals
- Low levels of trust
- High turnover
The two biggest reasons that we resist holding others accountable are because we’re uncomfortable doing it and because we forget to do it. Here’s how to tackle these issues.
Below are 5 tips to support Accountability:
- Lead by example and hold yourself accountable first
- Work on your feedback skills
- Recognize that procrastinating feedback only makes things worse
- Make accountability a habit
- Keep track of your commitments and hold each other accountable
This is a big piece of how Kinship supports its client’s. Each leader style and team is different, so the tools to create and support accountability need to align with the those pieces. We work alongside you to create a program that is customized for your vision, goals, team, and timeline.