How To Encourage Accountability In The Workplace

41808445_s.jpgBusiness leaders recognize that lack of accountability can be a serious workplace problem. If you believe that accountability is a problem in your corporate organization, you’ll have to dedicate some time to changing the business culture. Making accountability a core concept requires focus, but the end result will be a much more cohesive team and better performance.

Clearly Defined Business Roles

Very often, accountability is missing from the picture because people have no idea what their responsibilities are in the corporate process. Leadership and clearly defined work roles are essential to workplace accountability.

There shouldn’t be any confusion about who’s doing what projects or day-to-day tasks. If necessary, clarify and modify the corporate hierarchy. Make sure all team members understand their roles. Clearly defined roles will also make it a lot easier to monitor progress, identify weaknesses and assign new team roles upon necessity.


When poor performance happens, the lack of immediate feedback is a common reason for lack of accountability. It’s very important to provide feedback on an individual basis. Placing blame on the entire team will obviously blur the lines of personal involvement. That’s why accountability starts with clearly defined roles. When people have a good idea about what they’re responsible for, they’ll also know when their performance is sub-par.

Feedback isn’t about laying the blame on someone. It should involve an understanding of the problem and the provision of constructive criticism that will lead to improvement.

It’s Not About Punishments, It’s About Support

Circulation of responsibility usually happens when people feel they’re going to get punished for the mistakes made. Instead, building trust and focusing on positive reinforcement creates a culture of personal accountability.

Low-trust environments make people very likely to blame others or withhold important information. In this case, avoiding accountability becomes a method of self-preservation. Unless corporate values change, chances are people will continue refusing responsibility in the future.

Rewarding accomplishments go a lot further than dishing out punishments. Come up with incentive programs that encourage healthy competitiveness. If people know their accomplishments will be recognized, chances are they’ll adopt a more responsible approach towards work.

Measure Accountability

Face-to-face meetings and feedback sessions with workers are tools you’ll need to measure accountability in the organization. Try dedicating five to ten minutes to having personal conversations with employees every now and then. It will help you keep staff accountable and on track. You’ll know what people are working on, how much progress has been made and what challenges stand in the way of impeccable execution.

If you don’t have the time to meet all team managers, you may want to create a report writing habit. Getting weekly reports about performance is once again essential for measuring the effectiveness of the other accountability measures.

Regular reporting increases transparency and helps workers focus on their duties. It also gives you a clear idea about who’s doing what and whether all teams are on the same page in terms of fast and effective execution.

Cultivating accountability requires personal involvement and setting an example. Specific actions will be required, especially if you’re facing an accountability crisis. Be patient, work hard and you’ll eventually see the desired results.

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