While working in any organization, it is important for leaders and team members to be accountable towards deliverables. In absence of accountability, tasks can get delayed, productivity & morale decline, and the organization suffers, leading to a negative working environment. Every role comes with a certain level of accountability, and when it comes to leaders, it is of utmost importance to lead by example and demonstrate accountability towards your work while simultaneously holding your teams accountable.
What is Leadership Accountability?
Leaders must coach their team on how to demonstrate accountability and hold people accountable in a positive manner. Accountability can be established within the team by clearly specifying what must be accomplished, why, owners, resources, approved exceptions, and timelines. Once this is cared for you can then proceed to gain an open-ended commitment from your team member that includes each of these key points. This creates the conditions for accountability.
Accountability works for both leaders as well as team members. For example, once there is clarity on what needs to be accomplished and why it is important, leaders are accountable to follow up periodically to check in, review progress, offer coaching, and ensure proper support. Team members are accountable for committing to the timeline and completing the task per their agreed upon commitment. The leader is accountable to provide encouragement, recognition or correction until a successful outcome is achieved. This is a great opportunity to provide praise, or constructive feedback for improving team member’s skills and results.
Another aspect of leadership accountability is being a positive influence and creating clarity about goals and expectations. Accountable leaders believe in the concept of “we”, provide timely guidance and motivation to the team, ensure that all the team members have understood the assignment or project clearly, and stay available for the team in all circumstances. Accountable leaders also know how to lead by example and take ownership when a mistake is made. You can’t fail forward if you are never willing to admit mistakes and acknowledge how you will correct. Role modelling this will improve ownership in your team, spark better teamwork and positively influence morale.
“Leaders inspire accountability through their ability to accept responsibility before they place blame.”― Courtney Lynch
The beauty of this kind of accountability model is that the roles and responsibilities are clearly defined at each stage. Therefore, it becomes clear who is the right individual to reward, or hold accountable whenever a task may be delayed. To ensure deadlines are met clearly, add checkpoints for each step and inspect what you expect to support and ensure team members are meeting their commitments. This allows leaders to help remove roadblocks, coach, recognize results, and correct any skill gaps. If any miss happens outside of this, accountability conversations can be excellent reminders to get everyone back on track in a supportive, corrective and should minimize the need for disciplinary action due to unmet expectations.
How Accountability Leads to Improved Performance Results & Positive Morale?
Develops Sense of Ownership among Team Members
Awakening a sense of ownership among team members is crucial for high engagement and a highly functioning organization. When team members understand their roles and responsibilities, they become more confident and can deliver effectively. On the other hand, team members that are not engaged, lack accountability, and frequently fall short when it comes to fulfilling commitments. Organizations where leaders and team members value accountability reap more benefits compared to organizations where there is not an intentional focus on being accountable to make and meet commitments.
High productivity, an energetic & satisfied workforce, less burnout, and more engagement are very common in organizations that focus on developing a sense of ownership in team members with the help of accountability.
Avoid the Blame Game
While multiple team members are working on the same task, it often becomes a critical situation. In absence of accountability whenever any task isn’t completed on time, team members may start blaming each other for the miss. This can raise conflicts within the team members, that adds to the non-productive hours and long interrogations for root cause analysis.
However, if we hold people accountable based on their actions according to their commitments and responsibilities, we proactively follow-up, forecast any delay and help responsible team members find solutions to ensure activities are accomplished and on-time. Leaders who role model accountability, will have team members who are more likely to also take ownership and be accountable to deliver &/or correct any miss.
Achieve Tight Deadlines
With accountability, hard work and results are valued, and it becomes easier to achieve tight deadlines. Accountability allows you to focus more, push the limits, minimize mistakes, and seek guidance from leaders and other predetermined resources when required. When accountability is the source of motivation, you can easily conquer deadlines. Most difficult tasks can be completed within a given period if each team member understands their responsibility and shows a willingness to support each other. Leaders can play a huge role here by providing feedback and coaching with regular check-ins.
Expectations around accountability should be introduced to leaders and team members from day #1. Organizations should take steps to recognize leaders and team members that own up to their responsibilities and hold people accountable in a positive manner. When fostered well, accountability safeguards the core values of the company and as a result will position you and your team to achieve consistent quality results, on-time deliverables, and improved team and customer satisfaction.
At Etech, accountability is a core character commitment, and one of the most important ways Leaders serve their team members. If you are looking forward to growing your career in a healthy work environment where you can trust peers and leaders are accountable to following through on commitments, and support your success then click here to be a part of our remarkable team.