Importance of building accountability in the workplace

Importance of building accountability in the workplace

Your workplace is such an integral part of your life. You spend a lot of time there and it is important that the place should resonate a happy and positive vibe to make employees feel more engaged and productive. A workplace that keeps employees engaged but doesn’t have high levels of accountability is considered to be unsustainable. Accountability in the workplace is one of the key factors in conducting in any operation with efficiency and effectively. It also has a direct impact on employee’s productivity and performance.

Consider a workplace in which some employees are highly accountable, while others are unaccountable to meet deadlines and have a sub-standard performance. In such a workplace there would be high frustration among high performing employees. For the workplace to have a balance it is important that both high and low accountability employees work closely. But when high performing employees have to work with low performing employees, their morale and productivity also hits an all-time low.

It is the responsibility of a leader or manager to address this issue and foster a culture of accountability in the workplace. If managers don’t handle this delicate issue, there are chances that underperformance, frustration, and malaise builds up. And when there is such a negative environment, companies often see a drop in their productivity, efficiency, product quality and services, employee wellness and retention.

Experts believe that the top contributing factors towards low accountability are – learned helplessness, employee mentality, and personal grudges. A great way to overcome these obstacles is that managers should develop a non-penalizing strategy to challenge problematic behavior. This would redirect employees towards problem-solving, conflict management, and developing an action plan.

Organizational barriers to accountability in the workplace

Importance of building accountability in the workplace It is not just that individuals lack accountability, but in many cases even organizations fall short on creating accountability in the workplace. Institutional practices, when left uncorrected, can encourage lack of accountability by undermining who is responsible for what role. If an organization has a silo mentality and accountability is low on their priority list, there are high chances that the organization will be slow in success.

To prevent deterioration in accountability levels senior management should focus on more inclusive decision making, should define priorities of a group, and ensure there is a clear and open communication channel throughout the organization. This will help in clarifying the roles and responsibilities and also the ultimate goal that the organization is looking to accomplish.

Fostering a culture of accountability in the workplace

Creating a culture of accountability and high performance cannot be done overnight. Leaders should hold themselves to high standards in developing relationships based on trust and help employees do the same. By showing characteristics like integrity, competence, openness to feedback, and follow-through, they will set a good example for employees to follow.

Various studies in the field of neuroscience have shown that humans perform best when they get an environment of emotional safety and security. Inconsistent accountability in the workplace can erode trust of employees and bring in feelings of insecurity. This is not what you want and with such a conducive environment for engagement and high-performance business outcomes will be affected.

Action steps

  • Consider how you can strengthen the accountability of your team. Are there employees that need to be held accountable? Are you allowing employees obstacle interference with accountability?
  • Hold yourself and senior leaders to high standards so that it creates an environment for accountability and motivation.
  • Communicate openly and constantly with employees, try to understand their problems and ask about their performance. Provide the necessary resources for employees to accomplish their goals.

Connect with our subject matter experts to know how Crucial Accountability® workshop helps developing the culture of accountability in the workplace.


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