How to Foster Accountability In a Tight-Knit Culture

How to Foster Accountability In a Tight-Knit Culture

Accountability is considered one of the major characteristics needed for the success of an organization. Unfortunately, there are still some organizations that even though have a positive work culture and act as family, but there is no accountability. Instead of holding people accountable, the trend is to avoid conflict and not talk about the situation. Employees might not be serious about deadlines, some might be arriving late, or take their peers for granted. Those employees who have strong work ethics and understand a sense of responsibility need to pick up the slack. So what do you think should be done in this situation?

You might be facing similar situations or be working for an organization where accountability is not given priority. Here are some ways that encourage accountability and make a huge impact.

  1. Partner with a leader

This might sound that you’re not in a supervisory position. But changing the norms will require you to be with someone who is in that position. You need a leader who’s likely to share your concerns, who has the skill to manage the team, and who’ll be influential enough to convince other leaders.

Don’t expect to find the right leader immediately, it might take some time and effort. They might have concerns about their importance in the organization. Finding a partner that’s nurturing and understanding will require listening, compromise, and patience.

  1. Focus on the fool’s choice

As humans we are quick to make decisions and see them in a certain way, even if they aren’t. In corporate terminology this is known as Fool’s Choice. In this particular case, the fool’s choice is between holding people accountable and treating them with care and respect. The way you break free from a fool’s choice is by asking – ‘how can we do both?’

In this case the question that needs to be addressed by the leader is how to hold people accountable and be polite and respectful to them.

  1. Turn purpose into measurable goals

Your organization might be using service values as a substitute for measurable results. But unfortunately, these service values have become the lower threshold of behavior rather than being a target to accomplish. When you identify measurable results that need to be achieved it provides an immediate reason to hold people more accountable.

  1. Identify problem behaviors

You need to involve people who are affected by the problem you’ve described in identifying the problematic behaviors. The aim here is to have a group consensus on the behavioral changes that need to be implemented.

An effective way of doing this is by Start, Stop, and Continue exercise. In this exercise the group is asked to identify new behaviors they need to start doing to achieve their measurable results, existing behaviors that need to be stopped if they want to achieve those results, and existing behaviors that need to be continued to achieve the results.

These behaviors can be related to your organization’s service values but will be more precise and focused.

  1. Build new skills and norms

When working in a team you are asked for 200% accountability for the behavior changes that the team has identified. The team members are 100% accountable for their own behaviors and 100% accountable for the behavior of their colleagues. This practice encourages everyone on the team to be accountable, instead of just the leaders being accountable for everyone.

  1. Provide leadership support

Truly said that when it comes to leadership, follow through is a huge hit. It will be beneficial if you work with your leader partner to identify informal and formal leaders who can help team members hold each other accountable. These leaders will play a pivotal role by coaching people who don’t feel skilled enough to hold a coach or boss accountable, guiding and supporting them, pushing people who don’t feel comfortable in holding others accountable, and stepping in when accountability discussion is not structured properly.

Implementing these tips will help you create a more accountable culture. It will also encourage employees to maintain accountability and take the trend forward.

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