Accountability at the workplace refers to employees taking complete ownership for their work, being self-driven, and accepting both the successes and the failures that come along the way toward searching their goals. This is different from Responsibility, which is often construed to be handed over or given rather than accepted by self or taken. It is usually referred to just an obligation to complete the assigned tasks at hand. An accountable workforce, which is self-driven & owns the highs & lows is akin to a powerhouse. This undoubtedly results in a high-performing organization throbbing with innovation, collaboration, and high business results.
If the organization does not already have a culture of accountability, instilling one, should make it to the top of the priority list of the leadership. Author Pete Lowe quotes “Real accountability happens in the context of a culture that supports trust and genuine teamwork. Genuine accountability comes with a fresh honesty that acknowledges where things can improve and a humility that tempers action.”
So, what are the ways in which accountability can be fostered at the workplace?
- Clear Communication – The primary step would be, clear articulation of the objectives, goalposts, long-term & short-term vision. Having a sense of direction &understanding the larger picture is important to help the individual feel being a part & a valued contributor to the success story of the organization.
- Empowerment & Entrust– Once the objectives are clearly articulated, empowering, and entrusting the team to perform their tasks will help to infuse a strong sense of purpose, focus & belongingness.
- Real time feedback–Last but not the least, to ensure that a culture of accountability is built & sustained, the role of timely feedback cannot be ignored. It is important for the leader to intervene, question & action when a lackadaisical, casual approach is observed just as it is important for the leader to acknowledge, appreciate & reward the right behaviour & approach.
What does being accountable look like at the workplace?
A workforce which is accountable will be proactive, innovative, collaborative & work with a sense of unity.
Accountability will be visible through smaller actions observable on a daily basis, such as being punctual, responsive & having honest conversations.
On a concluding note, instilling accountability at the workplace starts from the top. It starts with the leadership imbibing the traits of being accountable followed by setting up robust mechanisms on hiring the right candidates, setting up effective communication channels & sharing feedback. Accountable behaviour displayed by the leadership is a great way to infuse excitement, passion, rigour & in turn accountability within the team.