How to Create a Culture of Accountability In Your Organization

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An organization without accountability is an organization with chaos. We’ve all seen it with an unruly child. The parent doesn’t hold the child accountable for their behavior, and the poor behavior continues.

Did you know this happens in organizations as well? 

When we don’t hold our people (and ourselves) accountable, chaos ensues. Everyone thinks they can do their own thing. 

Their own thing reigns misery down on those around them.

We can’t let this happen. We must stand up and create a culture of accountability in our organization.

What Is A Culture Of Accountability?

There are things every leader can do to make things less hectic in their organization. One of the best things is to create a culture of accountability. A culture of accountability is one where employees and leaders are held accountable for their goals and tasks. Their inaction is called out and corrected.

Imagine if you could have a culture like this? What would it do for your organization? Would productivity increase? Would workplace happiness begin to rise? Would things be done correctly?

The answer to these questions is an unequivocal yes.

So, let’s take a look at some of the building blocks for a culture of accountability. This will rely on you doing the tough work, but it’s worth it.

How To Create A Culture Of Accountability In Your Organization

To build a culture of accountability, tackle the following actions:

Set clear expectations:

There can be a lot of ambiguity in an employee’s workday. Without clear directions and expectations, an employee, and thus the culture, could languish without knowing whether or not they’re excelling.

It also allows for a lack of accountability.

Without expectations, how can employees tell if they’re doing their job well? Without touching base with them, how will they know what to do?

It’s your responsibility to step up and lead here. Give your team members clear directions and expectations. Help them see how their actions will either build or destroy the culture you want to build.

Set strong goals:

Goals are a future vision of achievement. Goals guide us and direct us. 

If you want to guide and direct your organization to a culture of accountability, set strong goals.

There’s a multitude of ways to set strong goals. You may consider the SMART Goals method. Or you might look at the PACT Method (Purposeful, Actionable, Continuous, and Trackable).

Whichever direction you go, you must set strong goals so your team can be accountable.

Be accountable to your team:

Many leaders think they are the ones holding others accountable. That’s true to an extent. But imagine the culture you’d create if you allowed your team to hold you accountable. 

Let your team members have metrics to measure your progress, support, and actions against. These metrics matter just as much, if not more, than the metrics you hold them accountable to.

If it’s fair for you, it’s fair for them. Plus, you’ll find your team buying into the culture of accountability when you’re held accountable.

Where can the team hold a leader accountable? Try the following areas:

  • Do you consider concerns that are raised about a project?
  • Do you provide help or assistance when requested?
  • Are people able to challenge your plans?

These are all areas that someone can track and see where you’re struggling. Then, you can work with them to fix the problem.

Keep track of commitments:

If we don’t keep track of the commitments we make to our team and they make to us, there’s no accountability. We have to keep track of those commitments. 

Just like setting goals, you and your team can do this in multiple ways. You may implement Leader Standard Work, using a digital calendar, or some other means. Whichever way you decide to go, you have to use it consistently.

Listen to your team:

Getting your team onboard with a culture of accountability won’t be easy to begin with, especially if your organization has lacked this kind of culture. You will have to build it from the ground up.

One of the best tactics is listening to your team members. They will share with you what’s working, what’s not, and what they think may work. 

These concerns and ideas are just as valid as yours. Listen to them. Process them. And then implement the changes needed or address why they weren’t.

When people are listened to, they’re more willing to be held accountable.

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