The Unfortunate Perception Of Accountability

I just went through a great training on accountability by Partners In Leadership. I thought I had a good understanding of accountability and would certainly label myself as accountable, who wouldn't? Unfortunately most of the business world has a negative view of accountability because we generally focus on the negative aspect, holding someone accountable when something goes wrong.

True accountability is part of your organizational culture and it all starts with clearly defined results that you are trying to achieve. If we are honest with ourselves as leaders those desired results are usually clear to the leadership team, but not always clear to the employees. If your employees aren't displaying the accountability you desire, if you wish they would finally take ownership of their work and the things around them, the first place you need to look is in the mirror, as it starts with us as leaders.

One of my favorite sayings is "The only person you can control is yourself." Accountability is owning that statement, regardless of everything else happening. If you aren't getting the desired results, what can you do to fix it? If you think there is nothing that is part of your job that can impact that, you are thinking too narrowly. The question isn't what part of my job can I change to fix it? The question is much broader, what can you do? We limit ourselves before we even start and we are surprised that we don't achieve what we want.

Accountability is not about who made the mistake. Accountability is about everyone on the team understanding what the goals are and doing whatever they can to achieve them.


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