Accountability In The Workplace

Pre-determining success factors and observing roadblocks to accountability in the workplace can help you keep your company stay on track and swerve clear of any obstacles.

As a manager, one of your most important assets is time. Great managers use their time wisely – dividing it between running the company, coming up with new ideas, and going home to a family at the end of the day. However, there are some managers who lose most of their limited time keeping track of their employees, making sure they do their job.

People who fail to keep their commitments or act irresponsibly create time issues for everyone involved. Managers, especially, are unable to focus on growing the company because they waste time making sure the company’s operations are on schedule.

Modern organizations focus on creating an environment where people have enough resources and support that they can hold themselves accountable. It frees up the managers time to focus on more important tasks and makes the company self-sustainable.

Accountability In The Workplace: Mutual accountability

Mutual accountability is a process in which two (or more than two) individuals agree to be held responsible for voluntary commitments they have made to one another. The framework relies on trust and mutual interest around a common goal, rather than enforcing strict penalties for non-compliance to encourage the preferred behavior change needed to meet those commitments.

Mutual accountability arises when there is an understanding of needs, authority, and ownership in a workplace environment. There is a two-way exchange where employees can’t do it without the manager, and managers can’t do it without the employees.

Accountability In The Workplace: Sustaining mutual accountability

Inside a company, there are two groups of people: the management, and the people or team under them. They’re like separate islands. Both groups work towards a common strategic goal, yet they are separated by a unique set of responsibilities and priorities.

So, to close the gap, management needs to ask the right questions. For people/teams, management should ask:

  • Did the person/team have clear and manageable priorities?
  • Were they committed to getting it done? Is there ownership mentality?
  • Did they have the requisite knowledge and skills to do the task? Were they willing to seek help?

Similarly, the management should also be questioned.

  • Did the management provide adequate systems, resources & tools (i.e. materials, money, equipment, people, etc.)?
  • Have they clarified authority and release control?
  • Did management offer feedback, training, and coaching? (This is a counter question to asking employees about requisite knowledge and skills.)
  • Did management show appreciation and reward success?

Once you’ve asked these questions, you’ll have a better understanding of what needs to be done to build a bridge between managers and employees. Most importantly, they must stress upon a shared vision of success, an alignment between personal and corporate values, and the understanding and acceptance of positive and negative consequences.

Mutual accountability between multiple parties is working towards common goals, and sharing ownership for results, attitudes, consequences and behaviours. So, an early warning or measurement system in place can help keep the management in control. Pre-determining success factors and observing roadblocks to accountability can help you keep your company stay on track and swerve clear of any obstacles.

Accountability In The Workplace: Identify your accountability culture

Knowing what kind of accountability culture your business has clarified the type of issues it has. So that you can take effective counter steps to keep your company moving forward.

Accountability depends on two factors:

  1. organizational expectation – what and how much the organization expects from its employees
  2. personal commitment – what and how many employees commit to delivering.

Authoritarian culture

High organizational expectation and low personal commitment create an authoritarian culture. Micro-managing leads teams every step of the way. This creates a culture where employees wait until management tells them what to do. This causes dissatisfaction on both sides because of which management might even face resistance from teams.

Indifferent culture

Low organizational expectation and personal commitment create an indifferent culture. There is no strong and unified vision, nor any commitment from team members. Due to a lack of communicated vision, there is no urgency, especially in underachievers. Moreover, this is one of the most dangerous environments for an organization.

Independent culture

High personal commitment and low organizational expectation create an independent culture. People are passionate about things, and if their passions are in line with the organizational needs, you get a winning team.

Mutually accountable culture

High organizational expectation and personal commitment create a workplace which is mutually accountable. They have shared vision and values, and contributors know and accept their roles. Self-directed and managed teams produce results aligned with corporate strategy.

Learn how we can help your business grow profitably today.