Accountability at work means being held accountable for your actions, not pointing the finger at others when something goes wrong. If something needs to be done, whether it is your responsibility or not, it's important to not wait for direction to take action. Take the initiative and as Nike says "Just Do It!" Leaders need specific Interpersonal Leadership Skills to help create a culture that encourages and engaged accountable workforce.
There are 3 steps to demonstrating personal accountability as follows:
STEP 1 - Responsibility
- The responsibility stage is where you make a clear agreement and write it down.
Identify the benefits of completing the task, and keep them in mind during the task. Motivation plays a part in successful project completion!
- When taking ownership, consider the benefits to you - new skills, recognition, etc.
- If you are the manager of a group and are assigning a task, think through why the assignment might be a good fit for the person you are assigning it to.
Avoid the "We Syndrome." "We" statements are acceptable when you are brainstorming a new project. But moving forward on plans or ideas requires the "we's" be translated into "I's".
Empowerment is taking personal action to ensure an agreed-upon result.
- There are four aspects to empowerment:
Decide on steps to take (do detailed planning)
Ask for assistance (ask questions, anticipate possible obstacles)
Overcome barriers (be resourceful)
Stay on track (be disciplined, follow up with others, watch deadlines)
Empowerment is sometimes confused with authority. Someone else gives you authority, or you seek authority from someone for a specific action. But each of us really needs to empower ourselves. If you do not have the authority to take a specific action, you are still empowered to go to whoever does and ask for assistance.
STEP 3 - Accountability
Accountability is a personal willingness - after the fact - to answer for the results of your behaviors and actions, regardless of how things turn out.
Look back at the agreement to make sure you completed each step, and to understand and fix any problems.
When outcomes are successful, celebrate your achievement.
When outcomes are unsuccessful, avoid placing blame on others. Take responsibility for fixing the problem and learning from the experience.
Look back at the project to learn from what happened. Think about:
- What you did
- What you learned
- What you will do to rectify the situation or fix the problem
- What you will do differently on a similar, future assignment
- Accepting accountability moves us from a "victim" mindset towards one of accountability. This accountability mindset gives you a sense of control.
There are many benefits to creating a culture of engaged, accountable team members. But it doesn't come naturally and it's not necessarily easy. If you are a manager or supervisor, your role is especially important because YOU are the one that influences your team more than anyone else. Your skills here make all the difference.
There are specific Interpersonal Leadership Skills you need to create an accountable, engaged culture, and we can help you get there.
Download a copy of "The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™ - Taking Teamwork to the Next Level". This is a Case Study written by Wiley Publishing about our organization's work with a client who participated in the program. Quantum Learning Solutions is a Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Authorized Partner. Susan Cullen, President of Quantum Learning Solutions, is an Accredited Facilitator for the program.