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January 4, 2019

Culture of Accountability: Tips to Forging Ways of Working

Organizational Effectiveness

If you’ve been following our blog (and you should be) you’ve learned about creating a culture of accountability. You’ve also learned about working with Aspirant and other top management consulting firms to help you achieve organizational effectiveness. Good for you! You’re on the right track to an accountable, productive and happy organization.

The next step is to maintain and sustain all your hard work, and there are many different tips and tricks to keep that culture going. The most important one is to showcase your own personal accountability.

Tip 1: Recognize accountability is bigger than just business as usual.

Accountability is a fundamental element in all societies as well as to the organizations that inhabit society (Hall et al., 2003). It is not necessarily something that is specific to the business world. And while it’s true that corporate and departmental accountability are important, all of that hinges on personal accountability. Some call it “felt accountability”.

Tip 2: Blame is the kryptonite of accountability; avoid it at all costs.

A leader that looks for others to blame cannot expect members of his or her team to be pillars of accountability. You must be the prime example of what you want in your employees. There are many negative effects of a leader or CEO not being visibly accountable to their team. Here are some  examples.

The organization's ability to scale efficiently will be limited when a CEO can’t be counted on to do his or her part. The effort that the people who report to the CEO put in will diminish as they continue to see the CEO as not being accountable. The leadership team as a whole will become dysfunctional, which will heighten employee and customer frustrations.

Tip 3: Accountability is a perception; work within that context.

Felt accountability, which is often called simply “accountability,” refers to an individual’s personal perceptions of his or her own accountability (Frink & Klimoski, 1998). Accountability has been defined as a “perceived expectation that one’s decisions or actions will be evaluated by a salient audience and that rewards or sanctions are believed to be contingent on this expected evaluation” (Hall & Ferris, 2011, p. 134).

Tip 4: Model appropriate behavior and take responsibility.

A good leader should consider these with all of their workplace actions and behaviors. They should also understand that others are looking to them to model appropriate behavior. So conduct yourself respectfully, and be accountable as a leader, thus earn the respect of your employees. People try to imitate the behavior of those they respect, bringing about a cycle and culture of accountability.

One thing you need to be sure to hold yourself accountable for is holding your team accountable. As a manager or a leader, part of your responsibility is making sure the members of your team are doing their part. That can sometimes lead to difficult conversations and decisions, but it is imperative for a culture of accountability.

Remember, your people are watching you. If they see you let “John” get away with putting in minimal effort at a project, they’ll recognize that he is not being held accountable. In turn, this means you do not hold yourself accountable for managing your team. Thus, you’ve lost the trust and respect of your team members. Accountability becomes less important.

Tip 5: Give yourself and your team time.

This won’t be an overnight transition, but if you continue to fall short of accountability expectations, so will your team. One by one, project by project, employees will put in less effort. You must inspire them to work better.

Tip 6: Create an accountability system.

To help with this, you need to implement an organizational tracking system to keep track of both the success and lack of success of your team. Celebrate the successes and learn from the failures. Hold people accountable through rewards for good accountability, and reviewing errors in accountability. A job scorecard is a good way to do this, but there are many other options and lots of technologies that can help you.


If you’re interested in learning more about sustaining a culture of accountability in your workplace, as well as being a model of personal accountability, check out our eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Team Accountability.

 Read the ultimate team accountability ebook



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Judy partners with executives and leadership teams to engage and inspire employees in a way that delivers sustainable strategic results. She brings deep expertise and creative ideas to solve organizational effectiveness issues and closely collaborates in a way that builds internal capabilities. Judy has spent over 25 years consulting in a variety of industries, bringing her expertise in behavior to a wide range of organizational issues including organizational behavior change, leadership, change management, culture and engagement.

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