How to integrate accountability into your company culture
Lack of accountability makes it impossible to build a high-performing team.
Simply said, things don’t get done when no one takes responsibility for making decisions, handling problems, and fixing them.
When someone accepts accountability, they do so for their own decisions. It involves taking the initiative and realising that people have the ability to both cause and solve problems. We’ll get into what accountability looks like at work, why it’s critical, and how to incorporate it into your culture in this article.
• What exactly does accountability mean at work?
• What occurs at work when there is a lack of accountability?
• How do you demonstrate responsibility at work?
• Making responsibility a cornerstone of your culture in 7 simple steps
• Bonus section: Accountability for coworkers
What exactly does accountability mean at work?
Every employee must take responsibility for their actions, behaviours, output, and decisions in the workplace. Additionally, it’s associated with better levels of devotion to work and employee morale, both of which boost performance.
It’s understanding that the outcomes of your job affect other team members and overall corporate performance.
When employees are held accountable, they accept responsibility for the outcomes and do not think it is the responsibility of someone else.
In essence, it’s the antithesis of passing responsibility.
The person who is specifically accountable
The directly responsible individual (DRI), a term coined by Apple, is the ideal illustration of accountability in the workplace. Every task at Apple, no matter how little, is given to a person who is personally in charge of it.
DRIs are responsible for the accomplishment or failure of the projects they are given. By clearly defining who is responsible, there is less potential for shifting blame and greater transparency regarding decision-making.
In the end, trust is built when team members continuously show ownership and accountability.
Performance improves and micromanagement decreases as a result.
What occurs at work when there is a lack of accountability?
Simply put: The team suffers from a lack of accountability.
When no one takes responsibility, the delay of one individual affects the entire team. A little shortage quickly grows into a larger one.
When unfinished work, missing deadlines, and poor punctuality are accepted, they often start to become the standard. People are taught that the actual deadline is a week after the one that was publicised, that it’s normal to constantly be 10 minutes late for meetings, and that producing subpar work is acceptable. Your team suffers, and eventually, so does the culture of your organisation.
The team as a whole becomes frustrated and disengaged when one of its members consistently breaks promises and isn’t held accountable.
Partners In Leadership claims that a lack of accountability at work results in:
• low team spirit
• Team members’ priorities are unclear.
• reduced level of employee involvement
• Unmet team and personal objectives
• Low trust levels
• a lot of change
How do you demonstrate responsibility at work?
It is obvious that a lack of responsibility has a hefty cost. So how do you avoid it or fix the problem? You need to go inward before you even consider how to include accountability into your workplace culture. At work, do you exhibit accountability?
A excellent place to start is with your goals and objectives. If you don’t know what you should be accepting responsibility for, you can’t be accountable. Set measurable, unambiguous goals for yourself and your team so that everyone, including you, understands what you’re aiming to accomplish.
You can skip forward to the next section, where we’ll talk about setting goals, if you’d like.
The discrepancy between expectations and performance should then be addressed. You can close the gap between what you’re doing and what you should be doing after you have a clear understanding of your objectives and expectations. Do things fall into a black hole because you weren’t aware they were on your plate?
Finally, and most importantly: Be accountable for your deeds. When you admit a mistake you’ve made, you’re also admitting that you have the ability to correct it. And accountability has this wonderful quality.
Examples of how you can show your own accountability at work:
• Within the time frame you agreed upon, finish the duties that have been allocated to you.
• Be accountable for your team’s success and put out the effort to assist your team when necessary.
• Respect everyone else’s time by arriving on time and prepared for meetings you schedule (and expect that others do too).
• Take responsibility for the issues you raise by offering solutions as well.
• Avoid brushing issues under the rug or assuming they have already been resolved. Instead, raise red flags as they appear.
How to instil accountability as a fundamental value across your team and in your culture
Because it makes us uncomfortable, we frequently forget to do it, or perhaps we are unsure of how to go about it, we avoid holding others accountable. Here are some strategies for dealing with these problems and fostering an accountable workplace culture.
1. Set a good example and start with being responsible for yourself.
As we just established, you create the tone, performance, and culture for your team as the manager. People will imitate your actions. The team will copy your behaviour if you consistently arrive late for meetings, miss deadlines, and refuse to accept responsibility for your errors.
2. Set collective objectives
Developing an environment of accountability on your team requires setting goals. It clarifies what you’re attempting to accomplish collectively.
To be clear, not all objectives are created equal. They must also be measurable, explicit, and demanding in order to be set in a way that promotes accountability. Our preferred method of setting goals is using the OKR framework (objective and key results). The fact that OKRs are bottom-up makes them beautiful. They are simple to track and are created collaboratively. Additionally, they must to be linked to more significant corporate objectives so that everyone is aware of their significance.
Everyone’s understanding of their tasks and expectations—both individually and collectively—is facilitated by this.
3. Improve your feedback abilities
Although it’s difficult, giving difficult feedback is a talent that can be developed. Giving feedback is one of the most crucial things a manager does. Giving severe feedback is lot simpler when you do it frequently, even when it’s favourable. It also lessens the possibility that the feedback your direct report is receiving may come as a surprise to them, which could result in even more disengagement.
Effective feedback is made up of a few components:
• Ensure psychological safety by providing critical feedback in a secure, private setting, such as your one-on-one meetings. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that psychological safety doesn’t develop overnight. Work to establish an environment with your team where people feel free to be open and authentic. If they don’t, it will be far more difficult for them to take your advice.
• Assume good intentions: At its core, constructive criticism stems from a desire to sincerely assist someone in developing. You must show that you care. Assume that the problem you’re trying to solve wasn’t done intentionally, and vice versa. The key is to always have each other’s backs.
• Be specific; being overly generic is not helpful to your team member. Give specific examples to support your criticism so they may better grasp how to improve.
Check out this collection of constructive feedback examples for more information on how to provide feedback effectively.
4. Establish a two-way feedback culture.
Good feedback requires not just the ability to give it, but also the willingness to receive it and the provision of a safe environment in which to do so. Your team members start to disengage when you don’t promote a culture of two-way feedback and they don’t feel like there is a safe area to speak up. According to a study by Vital Smarts of over 800 professionals,
• 52% are hesitant to bring up issues with peers’ work, such as incorrect shortcuts, a lack of attention to detail, and incomplete assignments.
• 47% of respondents claim they hold back on raising issues or suggestions that could help the company since doing so would infringe on someone else’s territory.
• When policy actions are starting to have unanticipated negative impacts, 49% of people wait more than a week to voice their concerns.
• When they think someone (or a group) has made a poor strategic decision, 55% are unwilling to address it.
That is a significant amount of missed opportunities for insightful learning and resource waste. Encourage two-way communication so that your staff feels comfortable identifying and outlining issues. Try the lettuce agreement with your team to help promote feedback.
5. Create a habit of accountability
It will be easier to ensure constant feedback flow if you include a reminder to provide and request feedback in the agenda for each meeting. We think team meetings and one-on-one conversations are excellent venues for developing an accountability habit.
To establish accountability as a habit, managers who use Hypercontext include the following meeting questions on their one-on-one agendas:
• Is there anything that our group should GET STARTED doing?
• Do you want me to give you more or less direction for your work?
• Do you believe you receive adequate criticism on your work? Where would you like further input if not here?
• Is there a part of your career that you feel could use extra coaching or help?
• How can we make our teamwork more effective?
6. Keep a record of your obligations, and keep one another responsible.
Make sure to include that as a future agenda item if you pledge to provide your direct reports more input so that you can hold yourself accountable. Make sure you have a mechanism to check-in on the day your employee promises to deliver a workback schedule for a project.
Making sure you’re assigning action items during meetings is a simple method to promote an accountability culture or, if the harm has already been done, repair a lack of accountability.
This is the ideal method for holding each and every team member responsible for their activities. For instance, the Next Steps feature in Hypercontext lets you add action items with deadlines to each meeting agenda item and assign them to team members. The team will have a clear understanding of what is being done and who needs to be held responsible for duties that have been neglected because you can’t close the agenda item until all of the subsequent stages have been completed.
7. Use a framework for accountability
Rarely is a lack of accountability on purpose. It frequently happens as a resu