What does accountability mean to you? Do you think it means whose fault something is? Whose responsibility something is? Do you think of accountability as something to avoid or something to embrace?
Most of us think about accountability as an ethically correct stance yet we also tend to attribute accountability to others rather than ourselves. The thing is, accountability makes a difference in both your personal and professional life. In the workplace, accountability goes hand in hand with empowerment and engagement, innovation and productivity. Those same positives can enrich your personal life, career and overall well-being.
Consider executive coaching to learn how you can increase your accountability or get an assessment of accountability in your organization.
As Robert Staub explains in his The Business Journal articles on the topic, lack of accountability costs companies billions every year. Why? A culture that lacks accountability contributes to employee theft, inefficiency, workplace conflicts, increased job stress and disengagement, lack of innovation and safe work practices, loss of customer loyalty and overall negativity. Accountability is crucial in today’s business world. For employees–and organizations–to succeed, empowerment, engagement and commitment are needed.
It’s important to define and articulate what accountability means in your organization. It’s not enough to talk in terms of doing right and it’s not enough to have expectations without having ways to measure progress in terms of accountability. You must ascertain what accountability means for your business, for each employee, for your corporate culture and, more importantly, for yourself. An executive coach can help you measure accountability and define it for you and your organization.
Leaders must have vision and set goals that employees can commit to and agree to. Individuals must commit both to organizational accountability and personal accountability. When you are personally accountable, you add to your own value too.
Staub says that accountability is a system-wide event, that accountability is the linking of individual positions and actions to the working of the whole. He calls this the “Chain of Accountability” because any organization is only as strong as its weakest link.
Consider his example: What happens if your sales department is 100 percent accountable for what they do but your shipping department acts with only 20 percent accountability? Your customers perceive your organization as acting with only that 20 percent of accountability. Staub gives another example: an officer of Naval Search and Rescue explains that a helicopter pilot’s ability to save lives is only as good as the worker that did an equipment check or the mechanic that changed the rotors.
Staub believes that accountability depends upon orienting, emoting, engaging and communicating. He comes from a leadership perspective. Orientation towards accountability depends upon leaders setting clear vision and goals and modeling accountability (walking the talk.) Staub says that emotional relationships and trust are necessary for people to engage and commit. This depends upon effective communication via leaders. Engagement also requires trusting employees and giving them adequate challenge.
Leaders must provide development opportunities and provide autonomy in order for people to adopt a culture of accountability. Besides articulating vision and goals, leaders must create systems of feedback and recognition to communicate and measure a system of accountability says Staub.
Consider emotional intelligence (EQ) training to help you build good relationships with others. Consider communication skills training for all of your employees. Consider leadership training to learn how to inspire accountability in others. Cont…