Accountability is a key component of a successful team. When people recognize their roles and fulfill their individual responsibilities to accomplish a common goal, the entire team benefits. Conversely, the team will suffer if only some team members are accountable.
While most managers would agree on the importance of holding employees accountable, many struggle to do so. But why? And how can they improve? Below are three criteria for fostering a culture of accountability and strategies that managers can implement to address them.
1. Clear Expectations
Employees need a clear understanding of management's expectations. Ensuring each team member knows who is responsible for which actions will eliminate confusion. One of the most effective ways to establish a framework for accountability is to set specific goals for each department or team, and individual employees. This allows everyone to work toward clearly defined expectations en route to the successful completion of a project. Personalized goals are key because they highlight how critical each employee is to accomplishing a shared objective. Employees understand that if they don't do their part, the entire team is impacted. Managers should take care to make sure goals are realistic and the workload is evenly distributed.
Building a culture of accountability requires consistency. Employees must understand that when they make avoidable mistakes or fail to meet goals, there will be consequences -every time. If someone misses a meeting and nothing is said, the employee will be confused if they do the same thing a week later and the manager becomes upset. Are meetings important or not? Additionally, consequences must be the same for every employee. If someone is penalized for a particular transgression and others are not - or if they are allowed to get away with things that others can't - employees will come to mistrust management and the team environment will grow toxic.
Employees can't meet the goals established to enforce accountability if they lack the necessary tools. Managers should assign tasks and set goals that align with each employee's skills and training, and provide opportunities for ongoing education and enrichment. An effective manager will check in with employees regularly to ask if they need anything. Do they have the right tools and software to meet their goals? Can they access the supporting materials they need? Regular group meetings can help managers understand how team members are working together and ensure everyone is contributing. It is also important to foster a culture of communication, so employees know they can ask questions and seek help when they need it.
No organization can reach its full potential without accountability. Read how the Department of Public Safety at Truman State University added a new level of accountability for its managers and employees with ScheduleAnywhere staff scheduling software.