I often hear the complaint that people just aren’t accountable. Accountability in the workplace involves creating an atmosphere of responsibility and integrity where people do what they say they are going to do when they say they are going to do it. Often leaders struggle with “Should I say something if an employee is late or misses a deadline?” Yes!!! That fosters accountability and it needs to be done at all levels of the organization. If not, there can be negative effects like low team morale, perceptions of favoritism, high turnover and/or low engagement.
Leaders need to set expectations for all employees and follow up to be sure these expectations are met. This can actually be comforting for your staff because not knowing expectations is confusing and upsetting…especially for your exceptional people. The word “discipline” means “to teach” and as a leader, teaching and mentoring are a large part of your job. Take the time to discipline.
Being accountable should represent the organization’s values. All levels of employees need to be encouraged to be creative and to follow the established rules and values. Fostering a creative work environment by sharing more responsibility helps create a productive work environment.
You should set the standard and be an example for the employees to follow. If you hold yourself accountable for any infractions, and then correct the issues, others will follow the example you have set and hold you in high regard. Show accountability by meeting deadlines, checking your work for errors, respecting other people’s time, and praising efforts on projects.
Give honest feedback and be direct with others so they can understand and correct their infractions. If someone is not corrected on a poorly done job, they will not learn how to fix the problem. Minor issues can become major ones and are much harder to fix in the future.
Accountability is not a one-time action. It’s a habit. Set reminders for deadlines, conduct progress/feedback meetings, and prompt employees about the core values of the organization. Continually ask the team and yourself how to improve working with each other. Each little improvement counts and everyone ultimately benefits.