Accountability has become a dirty word in many corporate cultures. This is not surprising, because it’s often used as a stick rather than a carrot. Mention the term and you can almost see everyone on the team wanting to fade into the woodwork.
However, there’s a reason that accountability matters, and it’s hidden right inside the word itself. Accountability is about accounting for the ability that you, and members of your team, have to take on a job. Rather than treating the term as a kind of swear word, why not make your self-improvement or productivity goal for this quarter to be “accounting for the abilities” of yourself and your team?
Here are three ways in which you can improve your accountability ability:
- Become accountable to yourself first. If you are one of those individuals who wants to run for cover when you hear the word, you will need to embrace its positive aspects yourself first. Otherwise you will have no luck selling it to your team. Being accountable is about honoring your commitments—and you wouldn’t be making those commitments if you didn’t have the ability to carry them out. So instead of thinking of it as something task-based, with success and failure as the only options, think about it being the opportunity to hone your abilities and honor your commitments.
- Create a collaborative culture. Rather than assigning tasks (“John, you’re accountable for Project A”), create a team culture that allows people to negotiate tasks—based on ability, and availability. Adding to your staff’s to-do lists without regard for ability will short-circuit their own beliefs in their ability. Instead, draw them in with conversation that supports their abilities—and then asks them to be willing to account for the work.
- Hold others accountable for the work more than the results. Yes, abilities must grow over time, and every human makes mistakes. Therefore, make accountability more about your team members doing their best work. If you set people up to succeed, they will gain confidence and ability, which will foster a culture of achievement and success. Being more responsible and honoring commitments will then become part of a larger framework rather than a scary stick to be wielded by leadership.
Remember than any change in culture begins with you!
- How Taking the Occasional Day Off is Good for Productivity
- The Ongoing HR Challenge -- When Happy Isn't Enough! [INFOGRAPHIC]
- Whether Your Career or "Just a Job", Know Your Workplace Boundaries
- Saying Thank You - It's Good for You Too!