How to master accountability in your workplace

Apr 7, 2021 | Accountability, Business

Accountability is at the heart of every highly productive workplace and is linked to an increase in commitment to work and employee morale, which leads to higher overall performance on an individual and company scale. Accountability means that a person can recognise their role in different scenarios and has a willingness to accept responsibility for their actions. However, it is still lacking in many companies.

Since results and accountability are inextricably linked, here are some tips on how to master accountability in your workplace:

Make accountability one of your core workplace values

It is important to integrate accountability into your everyday operations. By having regular discussions about accountability you can encourage your employees to share their thoughts and ideas about what accountability means to them and how they can implement it into their daily work routine. Your team will already recognise the key workplace values like honesty and integrity, so why not add accountability to the list too!

Lead by example and hold yourself accountable first

Business owners and managers are the pacesetters of tone, performance and culture for their team. Employees look to them for guidance and aim to mirror their behaviour in the workplace. Be an example for your employees by showing them your accountability; tell them what your goals are to show that you also have responsibilities. Your employees will feel much more motivated to work with a leader who takes accountability for their success.

To demonstrate accountability in the workplace, you should:

  • Complete tasks by the agreed deadline.
  • Be responsible for the success of the team and make the effort to support the team when needed. 
  • Respect everyone’s time by showing up prepared and on time and expect others to do the same.

Set specific goals and expectations

As a leader, you need to provide specifics. It is important for employees to know what is expected of them in order for them to take responsibility. Setting goals is a way for your employees to feel in control of their work and their results. It’s also a great way to learn the different skillsets of your employees in order to assign them to the right tasks and get the most out of them.

Have visible ways of measuring progress throughout the project so your team understand how their work contributes. Not only does this teach your employees to value and take pride in their work, but it also explains how their work fits into the bigger picture.

Give feedback

Giving feedback is one of the most important things a manager can do for their team. A global survey conducted by Deloitte found that learning and development is a top priority for both Millennials and Generation Z employees since all feedback comes from a place of genuinely wanting to help someone grow and succeed. Feedback needs to be direct and clear, so frequent one-on-ones and team meetings are great opportunities to build a habit around feedback and accountability.

Keep track of your commitments and hold each other accountable

One easy way to create a culture of accountability is to make sure you are assigning action items during meetings. This is a perfect way to hold every member of your team accountable for their actions so they have a clear idea of what is being done.

When there is a lack of clarity around who is responsible for what, it makes accountability much harder on a team. Luckily, accountability frameworks like the RACI matrix can help with this problem. The accountability framework ensures all individuals involved with a project are assigned a role every step of the way. These roles are broken into four levels of accountability: 

  • Responsible: Those who are responsible for completing the task at hand.
  • Accountable:Those who are accountable for the completion of the task. This individual is also responsible for delegating the work to those who are responsible for completing it. 
  • Consulted:These individuals are typically the subject-matter experts on the task at hand. They are involved in the specific stage of the project in a consulting and advisory
  • Informed:These are the individuals who are kept up-to-date on progress at each stage of the project. This is usually done in the form of one-way communication. 

Each team member can recognise the role they played in the project and celebrate their individual and team’s success.

Final word

Mastering accountability can help you have better performance discussions, achieve better results and hold people accountable in a supportive way. To build accountability in the workplace, you have to convey the purpose behind the work, create an environment of autonomy, and clearly communicate specific expectations.

By establishing meaningful goals, modelling behaviour from the top down and empowering individual team members, you encourage your employees to be accountable and enable them to celebrate their successes.