Promoting a Culture of Accountability

Imagine a company where quality is top-notch, customers have a consistent brand experience, and employees are engaged and feel empowered to do the right thing. Additionally, profitability is high and risk management costs are low. Does this sound too good to be true? It is not. This vision can be your reality if, and only if, you promote a culture of accountability. How can you do that? Here are 6 pieces of advice.

  1. Ensure ownership. Micromanagement kills ownership. The more you are “in the weeds” with your employee the less likely they will develop autonomy or a sense of responsibility for their work. Learn to step back and give room for employees to own their decisions and outcomes.
  2. Build trust. Similar to above, self-management is important. Create a flexible culture where employees can manage their time. The flexibility will turn into a feeling of empowerment as employees feel that they are in control of the ship.
  3. Clearly define the mission and turn strategy into specific objectives. You cannot hold employees accountable if they do not understand what you are holding them accountable for and why it matters. The more they understand the more they can make informed decisions that support strategic initiatives.
  4. Embrace feedback. Encourage employees to be open and share their successes and failures. Encouraging feedback engages employees and empowers them to have a voice and be invested in the outcome. Feedback can also help uncover any performance gaps or challenges that could interrupt business. To be effective feedback needs to be consistent and inclusive. If not, you are prone to bias and will lack awareness to challenges that impact productivity. Ignorance is not bliss.
  5. Encourage mentor-ship. Employees are not all equal. Mentor-ship is a low-cost investment that can help employees learn best practices and expectations by fostering relationships between high performing team members and those that are new or are facing challenges. Mentor-ship is also a great way to share and retain the information that can be lost as a result of turnover.
  6. Model the behavior you want to see. If leaders are not walking the talk but expecting others to, disengagement is created and employees will not trust you and are less likely to hold themselves accountable. If you want the most out of your employees, lead by example.