What words come to mind when you hear “accountability”?
Seriously, think of a few, I’ll wait.
I ask this question at the beginning of the Accountability module of The Effective Manager Program.
Here’s the answers I usually get:
- Leading by example
- Follow through
Did any of these come to mind for you?
We all know teams and individuals need accountability, but how often do we stop and think about what accountability actually means?
Here’s my favourite definition:
Think about that for a second.
It’s not about taking the blame when something goes wrong. It’s responsibility to an outcome.
It’s so much more than something that just needs to happen when things go sour, but unfortunately, that’s often what we think of.
Something goes wrong and it’s, “who’s going to take accountability for this?”
As a manager, you have responsibility to an outcome which means you need to create a culture of accountability so that people don’t just think it’s about taking the blame when something goes wrong.
Here’s what we see when there ISN’T a culture of accountability:
- Finger pointing
- Poor results
- Bad reputation
- High turnover
- Poor quality products or service
Do any of these sound familiar?
1. Emotional Context: Where there is blame, denial and excuses, there’s also fear, anger and resentment, which create dysfunctional relationships and poor staff morale.
2. Energy and Focus: Energy shifts from the interest of the group towards self preservation – no one has my back so I’m just going to look out for myself.
3. Biases: As mental energies shift to defending our own position, biases come in that alter our perception and assessment of situations; we start to see things through a tainted lens.
4. Inhibits Creativity: Where fear exists, we tend not to take risks or think creatively for fear of persecution or being thrown under the bus if it doesn’t go well, so, we don’t step outside the lines.
5. Expensive: Poor quality, service failures, lost customers, poor staff morale, high turnover, lost opportunity costs of low innovation, inability to create better products and services… all of these things are expensive!
No one wants to work in an environment like this.
- Job satisfaction
- High morale
- Positive culture
That sounds more like the kind of place I’d like to work.
Here’s my question for you (yes you!)
How do we build a culture of accountability?
Comment below and let me know, I love hearing your thoughts.
PS – what else would you add to either of those lists when there is or isn’t accountability?
PPS – don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you hanging, I’ll post next week about how to build a culture of accountability but I want to hear from you first.
Our next cohort of The Effective Manager Program kicks off next month.
Others have already taken their first step to becoming more effective, come join us.
Here’s some of the one word closes from the cohort last week after they finished the Accountability module:
How do you think you’d be feeling if you learnt everything you need to about accountability?