Orangeville, ON (Jason Mead) Accountability is a buzzword in the business world right now. Unfortunately, most of us have negative understanding of the word. We often use the word as if it means blame and punishment. So, we attempt to avoid it. The truth is that accountability is unavoidable. In the workplace, everyone is accountable to someone. We are accountable to our peers, managers, customers and ownership. We are also accountable to our industry.
What if being accountable was empowering for you and your employees? Research indicates that holding people accountable has very positive effects. Accountability produces vigilant problem solving, better decision-making, and greater job satisfaction. People can develop their skills and be their best.
The issue with accountability is not the absence of accountability in business. Accountability exists regardless.
Consider these definitions of accountability:
• Accountability is a state of responsiveness.
• To be called on to render an account.
• Subject to giving an account.
• Non–judgmental feed back (Accountability is no place for judgment, blame or punishment).
Here are some areas to troubleshoot in your workplace:
• Ambiguity is the enemy of accountability. Make sure to have clearly defined job descriptions and duties for your personnel.
• Accountability is an attitude so look at yourself as the role model. Are you being accountable to your boss, ownership, your employees and clients?
•Do you have written expectations? Start at the time of hire. If possible, review written expectations and standards of performance. Give your employees the opportunity to buy into the expectation.
• Do you have Permission; either implied or granted.
• Do they have training? You cannot hold someone accountable to something they are not trained to do!
• Do your employees have a working plan – a project timeline, an economic model etc?
• Have you created a learning based environment? Is it okay to make a mistake or say, “I don’t know?” Know-it-alls do not make good coaches nor are they coach-able. Creating a safe environment for mistakes encourages accountability.
• Are there real consequences? Consequences work best when spelled out before actually needed, in expectations for example.