Accountability. What does it really mean?
To most, accountability is just a synonym for responsibility. More importantly, however, it should be seen as taking responsibility and getting others to take responsibility. It is about being fully committed and getting others to be fully committed.
Traditional performance management practices provide a structure for creating a team of accountable employees. But they don’t form a culture of accountability in which team members are emotionally committed to give their all.
As a leader, how can you motivate employees to pump up their sense of personal accountability, ultimately affecting the team’s accountability as a whole? Here are six ways to start:
1. Self-reflect – Ask yourself: “What am I doing as a leader that may be compromising my team’s accountability? Are my expectations too high? Have I underrated their ability to make decisions? Am I too controlling?” You may have to hold yourself accountable for being realistic and empowering.
2. Support – If you support you employees, they will support you. They need you as much as you need them. Acknowledge what each individual accomplishes, as well as how their work strengthens the team.
3. Align your goals – Ensure that organizational goals relate to employee goals. If they get what they want, you’ll be more likely to get what you want. Work toward something shared.
4. Connect and involve – To inspire your team members understand their individual perspectives. Then offer them more control in the decision-making process. This will give them a sense of ownership.
5. Expose yourself – Be open about your limitations and fears. After all, you’re only human. Give employees the opportunity to fill in the gaps with their strengths. Remember, you hired them for a reason.
6. Avoid personal judgement – Everyone has a mental list of people they don’t like, and a member of your team may just be on your list. However, when leading a team, it’s best to put aside your personal feelings and stay professional. If you are impartial, your employees won’t feel that their character is in question. You don’t have to like someone to approve of their work.
Think about your own leadership style: Where do you fit in terms of these guidelines? How are you fostering or hindering accountability?
These six guidelines will help you create and maintain a culture of accountability in which every team member feels responsible for the whole team.
Pay attention to, nourish, and honour the spirit of each person on your team. A culture of accountability starts with you.