Accountability: If you don’t have it, build it. I often wonder why leaders seem to shy away from building an accountable work environment. Is it too difficult to create an accountable workforce? Are they simply not great leaders? Do these leaders understand the importance of accountability? Could it be that these leaders do not know how to build an accountable team?
For me, accountability is just what I do. I own what I do, when I do it and how I do it. I am given a job and I perform. It never occurred to me to do it any other way. When I began my career in HR, it was a bit alarming to me that not everyone worked this way. I discovered that there are so many kinds of workers and some simply are not accountable.
There are workers:
- That will blame others for everything that goes wrong.
- That need to be told what to do. Never assume employees know what to do.
- That do not want to be responsible for anything, therefore they can never be blamed.
- That are accountable as long as their objectives are clearly defined.
- That are accountable for all of their actions.
It is okay that we are all built differently. However, it is not okay to lack accountability for your work. It’s certainly not okay to blame others for the hand you were dealt. If you are not accountable, who is?
What does it mean to be accountable?
- Understanding of your expectations
- Drive for results
- Ownership of your work
- Commitment to the project
- No excuses
Let’s break those things down a little bit further.
Understand what is expected
- Make sure you are clear on what is expected of you.
- If you are not clear, ask!
Drive for results
- Understand the strategy
- Active commitment to achieve or exceed expectations
- Take pride in your work
- Do your best work
- Own it
Commitment to the project
- Do what you say you are going to do
- Do it with grace, no complaints, no excuses
- Do your job with honesty
- Do your job with integrity
- Do not try to hide issues
- If you mess up, talk to your leader
- Do not try to cover up mistakes
- If you have an issue, speak up
- If you are running behind, speak up
- Do not try to make excuses as to why you are late
- Do not try to make excuses as to why you cannot complete your tasks
- Think through your issues, come up with a solution
Again, accountability is about accepting what you do, when you do it and how you do it. You don’t have to be perfect. Leaders are not asking for perfection.
Leaders are asking you:
- To do your job
- To speak up if you have questions or issues
- You will run into issues. How you handle those issues is up to you!
- To offer solutions when you run into problems
- Work together, as a team to accomplish goals