What Is Accountability?

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Successful businesses and teams simply cannot succeed without a level of accountability in the workplace. There is a very close link between accountability and the delivery of results. Without establishing a culture that focuses on responsibility, high-performing teams simply cannot work properly.

With accountability in the workplace, businesses are able to work better, and teams are able to perform at a better level. This also increases job happiness and also reduces the risk of surprises in the workplace. What is accountability? It is simply the ability that someone will take responsibility for their work.

Why Is Promoting Accountability in the Workplace Important?

It is incredibly important for businesses to promote accountability in the workplace. It is important that we work for accountability conversations with the subordinates and the coworkers. Fostering an accountability culture is important for businesses because it gives the employees a feeling that they will be responsible for their actions.

More importantly, accountability is responsible for improving the quality of fiscal reporting within the company. In financial institutions and larger businesses, accountability is essential for managing the integrity of capital markets. Corporate accountability, on the other hand, focuses on being answerable to the stakeholders within the company.

At the start of the year, the company sets its targets and these are passed down to the employees, including the line managers and the staff managers. Corporate accountability involves making sure that these targets are met and the employees are able to achieve their objectives without any major hurdles.

How to Promote Accountability in the Workplace

There are a number of different steps that one can take to promote accountability in the workplace. Here are a few tips that you should follow to promote accountability in the work environment.

Start with Yourself

The best way to promote accountability within the work environment is to start with yourself. There are two essential commitments that you need to make to foster success in all departments of your life – you should start with your work life and your personal life.

Leaders are able to promote accountability and create a robust culture in the workplace by starting with themselves. When a leader is willing to be held accountable by others, others will automatically start reflecting that on themselves.

Set Vivid Expectations

Before you can foster a culture of accountability in the workplace, you need to make sure that every employee has clear instructions on what is expected of them. You can’t just simply tell them to “complete the project according to the best standards.” You have to be clear about it.

Being unclear about basic instructions is a terrible idea. If you talk to one of your employees and tell them about the “highest standards,” they will give you a different answer. When giving out instructions, you need to be very clear and give quantifiable instructions to employees.

If the expectations are not clear, it could lead to gaps in accountability. To reduce ambiguity and make sure that every employee works up to specific standards, it is important that you provide clear instructions to each and every employee.

Create a Sense of Safety

Accountability does not mean that every employee who does something wrong is punished for their actions. If you do not create a sense of safety in the workplace, you are going to have difficulty in getting employees to be accountable for their actions.

It is necessary for you, as a manager or a leader, to ensure that employees feel safe in their surroundings. Your team members are simply going to feel unsafe and won’t be inclined to share their views if they feel that they are going to be punished as a result of their actions.

It’s important for you to frame the objectives in a way that respect is not diminished. You have to establish common ground so that your employees find it comfortable to talk about their problems.

Understanding the Accountability Puzzle

One of the most interesting approaches that you can take to foster accountability in the workplace is to make use of the accountability puzzle. The accountability puzzle was created by Henry Evans, and is designed to encourage accountability and promote accountable actions.

There are four essential pieces of the puzzle that you need to know about:

  1. Bridging the Accountability Gap – The SMARTER framework is quite popular for use in bridging the accountability gap. The framework is designed to encourage accountability by setting goals. Setting goals that are smart, measurable, attainable, results-centric, trackable, ethical, and finally, recorded is very important.
  2. Dates and Times – More importantly, the dates and times must be very specific, all the way down to the time zones. You have to align priorities and make sure that appropriate resources are available for meeting the targets. This is going to help you achieve your most important objectives.
  3. Assign One Task to One Person – Furthermore, instead of giving multiple tasks to a single owner, Evans recommends that you narrow things down to offer one task to one owner. This way, the chances of confusion are reduced dramatically, and employees will find it much easier to achieve their goals without much of a problem.
  4. Going Public – One can only be accountable about something when another person knows about it. If two people are aware of something, only then can one of them be accountable to the other for it. It is very important that you create accountability partners in the workplace.

The Accountability Puzzle is an excellent way to foster accountability in the workplace. It is going to help you make your employees more accountable for their actions without feeling an impending sense of doom or fear.

How to Be Transparent

Transparency is important if you want to make your employees more accountable for their actions. If you are not clear and transparent about your actions with your employees, it is only going to create a feeling of dissent between the parties.

You really don’t want that. It is recommended that you maintain open channels of communication and provide instructions with maximum clarity. This is going to help improve employee morale and your company’s goodwill is also going to increase. The upper management, combined with the lower management, will be able to work together.

These are just a few things that you should know about the importance of accountability in the workplace.


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