By Anne M. Bachrach (USA)
Accountability is one of the basic disciplines of doing business and increasing success. Yet, organisations often find it next to impossible to create a successful accountability culture. Companies that do manage to have high levels of accountability also achieve greater success. The ones that are not able to do so usually don’t experience the growth or success they desire and wonder why. As an entrepreneur, the benefits of creating a culture of accountability are quite evident, but sometimes you might find accountability to be elusive. Why does this happen?
Why Creating an Accountability Culture is Not Easy
The main reason why organisations fail to create a successful accountability culture is that the leaders and managers don’t fully involve themselves in the process. The process of accountability has to start from the top and go all the way down. Else, the employees don’t see the point of being held accountable for their positions if the top brass of the company is exempt from it (which shouldn’t have to be the case but is). Business owners should set the standard by holding themselves accountable. Become a good role model for your employees to follow.
Benefits of Accountability
Accountability isn’t hard to achieve once you set your mind to it. It does take much more than changing your attitude to be able to create an accountability culture in any organisation. That is why so few actually implement an accountability culture. There are some major benefits of accountability, such as
- The knowledge that you can count on your employees. This reduces much of the stress you face on the job and increases your confidence and ultimate success.
- More time to focus on the important high payoff tasks and decisions regarding your business.
- Motivated employees working at their optimal productivity levels with them knowing that everyone is pulling their weight so to speak and not just the top few doing most of the work for the firm.
- The ability to delegate important work with confidence.
- A respectful and comfortable working environment for all the employees.
As you can see, creating a culture of accountability could prove to be the key to taking your business to the next level. It is integral to the success of your business. Let’s look at some of the ways in which you can create and encourage a culture of accountability in your business.
How to Build a Culture of Accountability
An accountability culture is built on some fundamental principles. You have to follow them to introduce the culture in your organisation. Here are some strategies you can use to create a successful accountability culture.
You need to allow your employees the freedom to work the way they need to in order to produce their best results. Imposing a certain style of working on an employee could hinder the quality and quantity of their work. What you should do instead is to define the expectations you have on the employee. Make sure you clearly inform the employees about the way you expect them to conduct themselves and the rules they have to follow. Also, you need to provide them a realistic picture of what happens should they fail in their job. From there on, you can let the employees take full responsibility for the work they have been assigned, with the accountability measures fully in place.
Along with defining expectations, you also need to communicate to the employees the type of culture you want to implement in your business. You cannot blame the employees for not being accountable if you have not informed them properly. Make it clear to the employees from the moment they join your team that you expect them to solve problems they will encounter during the course of work. You will see how this leads to most employees changing their approach to work and becoming more responsible and accountable.
Set Clear Goals
Clarity is also important when setting goals for your employees. Make sure they know exactly what they have to do and also how they have to go about doing it. If a task has not been clearly defined, the manager or leader should be the one held accountable. Clearly set out goals and measurements for results are tools you can use to bolster accountability. There is no excuse for the employee if you have provided a realistic goal and course of action for what is expected for them to follow.
The best way to encourage accountability is by showing appreciation when desired results are actually produced. You should highlight how that particular employee showed accountability and how it played a role in helping the company moving towards success. A lack of appreciation could lead employees to feel nonchalant about the accountability culture and that they stand to gain nothing from it. Providing more than just their pay check is appreciated when results are achieved. Celebrating successes are important in the accountability culture.
Accountability is a discipline, as mentioned before. Therefore, it can be taught. And who better to teach employees than yourself? Being the business owner, you are in the perfect position to become a model for accountability your employees can see and emulate. The best way to do this is to resist the temptation to blame your employees for all your business’ failures. Most business owners make the mistake of taking the credit for success but when failure comes a-knocking, they look for scapegoats. Being accountable requires you to own up to defeat as well and giving credit where credit is due. You are ultimately responsible for everything – success and failure as it is your business, but acknowledging those who are helping your firm succeed is really important to your continued growth and success.
Creating a successful accountability culture involves using the strategies laid out above. Implement them and you will observe a change in the way your employees work and the results they produce for your firm. It will make your job much easier and you can focus on taking your business to the next level of success.
About Anne M. Bachrach
Anne M. Bachrach is known as The Accountability Coach™. She has 23 years of experience training and coaching. Business owners and entrepreneurs who utilise Anne’s proven systems and processes work less, make more money, and have a more balanced and successful life. Anne is the author of the books, Excuses Don’t Count; Results Rule!, and Live Life with No Regrets; How the Choices We Make Impact Our Lives, and The Work Life Balance Emergency Kit.