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Six Steps To Build A Culture Of Self-accountability

Photo By Perry Grone on Unsplash
Photo By Perry Grone On Unsplash

Six Steps to Build a Culture of Self accountability:

Accountability is a word that appears in every employee handbook. It is ideal. But what does it mean? When you search for the meaning of ‘accountability’ in the dictionary, some of the synonyms that show up are liable, answerable, amenable, and responsible. While all of these convey the meaning of the word, I believe ‘accountability’ means having all these qualities together.
Accountability in the workplace means that employees take responsibility not only for their performance but also for business outcomes. It goes beyond just their role. It means the employee has a high sense of ownership in the overall business and thinks and acts in a way that will help achieve organisational results. In other words, they feel attached to the purpose and results of the organisation.
As a leader in your workplace, there are many things that you can do to foster a culture of accountability among your employees. Here are six simple steps that you can follow to cultivate a culture of accountability in your workplace:

1. Define clear expectations and goals:

Employees are less engaged at work when they do not have a clear understanding of what’s required of them. Although nobody likes to be micromanaged, most employees appreciate knowing they are on the right track. Knowing how to set clear expectations and communicating employee responsibilities to each new hire can have a long-lasting effect on your business. Knowing how to set clear expectations can be the key to a productive workplace. A clear goal is when you fully understand the requirement and communicate it very clearly to the employee as well, with what steps to take to reach the goal.
Tips: The difference between clear goals and vague goals. An example of a clear goal: “Make 20 sales calls every month.” This gives the employee a tangible target. In comparison, a vague goal is: “Make sure you contribute to increasing the revenue.” Unlike a clear goal, a vague one is where there is no clarity on what needs to happen to achieve the goal. Another example of a vague goal is – Reaching a revenue of Rs 100 crore in 2 years. While this is a broad goal, employees should be given a concrete path to make this a reality.

2. Support your team, monitor progress, and offer help when needed:

Supporting your team at work can help boost morale, increase productivity and create a happier and healthier work culture. Professionals who feel supported by their colleagues often are more confident in their abilities and can return the support to others, which can be beneficial to the entire company. Managers can support their teams through encouraging behaviour and practices. This in turn can help your company reach its goals, and overall improve the work quality of you and your team.

Tips: Establish yourself as a leader whom your peers can ask for help. This will open a line of communication that allows you to go to others for help as well. This can ensure all professionals are comfortable asking for help within your company, which can lead to a healthier work environment.

3. Lead by example:

Do you have a firm grasp of the hands-on processes that power your organisation? While delegation is critical to growth, you never want to lose touch with what’s happening in the company. A good leader works alongside their team and isn’t above doing any tasks themselves. Leading by example means demonstrating the standards you’d like to see, and letting your action set the tone for your organisation. Some of the essential qualities are to lead with empathy, kindness, being transparent, and being humble enough to admit when you have made a mistake. Talk about your life outside of work and acknowledge things that are going well, but don’t forget about the hard stuff, too. Showing emotion encourages your employees to do the same.

Tips: One way business leaders can lead by example is by being the first to show up on time. When leaders show up on time (if not early), take part in critical projects, and help their team solve its biggest problems, their employees will better understand what’s expected of them and the leader will gain more respect.

4. Encourage commitment:

It is important to create a culture where employees feel dedicated to their roles. This commitment can inspire employees to work hard and complete their best work for themselves and their teammates. Learning how to improve commitment within a team can help you create a work environment that consistently leads to high-quality results and satisfied employees. They can feel more invested in a project if they’re given challenging and interesting work. Offering complex responsibilities can allow employees to think about their work in a new way and apply new skills. A team may also feel more engaged with their work if they are given the freedom to complete tasks in a way that works for them. Consider promoting a workplace where all employees can trust coworkers, to respect them and their work. This can inspire them to take risks that can lead to improved performance.

Tips: A good way to build commitment within a team is to understand an employee’s passion and skills. Once you understand what work team members most enjoy and feel a connection to, you can distribute tasks based on suitability, and where they can get the most out of each responsibility. Some ways to allow for additional freedom are to allow employees to distribute tasks themselves or minimise check-ins and strict schedules.

5. Communicate consequences:

As the business owner and manager of your workforce, you will need to know how to deal with non-compliance or a failure to follow a rule or procedure in the workplace, when it inevitably arises.

Non-compliance takes many forms – whether it is disregard for workplace policies like health and safety regulations, continuously showing up late to work or not showing up at all, or poor code of conduct, or failure to take direction and complete a job or other work responsibilities. Non-compliant behaviour can be both intentional and unintentional, depending on the situation.

As a business leader or manager, it is your responsibility to deal with employees who do not toe the line.

Tips: Positive motivation can do a lot more for an employee than negative reinforcement does. Set up a face-to-face meeting with employees who are causing problems. Discuss why you have given them the responsibilities. Sometimes people are unclear, and just need some guidance or understanding of why their behaviour is considered disrespectful and noncompliant. Clearly outline the consequences of their actions if they fail to comply with the business’s rules and regulations hereafter. Some examples of consequences are, limiting promotions, or placing them on probation with a strict warning of terminating their contract.

6. Gather feedback:

The most successful organisations are those that foster a safe and inclusive company culture where employees can express their opinions and concerns candidly. This means being open to receiving feedback, and demonstrating that employee opinions are valued – it is key to maintaining a healthy work environment.

Whether it’s positive, negative, or constructive feedback, effective communication channels allow you to understand what’s enabling or blocking your team’s success and overall employee happiness. When you collect feedback you can offer support and realign team goals and priorities. A great leader is always open and adaptable to the needs of their team and makes employee satisfaction a priority.

Have regular one on one meetings with team members – it helps create the feedback culture. Importantly, once feedback is gathered, employers should also know how to use it effectively. Use data analysis tools to analyse feedback trends, and gain actionable insights. This helps you make data-driven decisions for improvements.

Tips: Use surveys on an ongoing basis. Pulse surveys are an excellent way to collect employee feedback regularly and implement meaningful changes in real time. It allows you to track trends in employee engagement, like recognition, wellness, or manager-employee relationships. Allow employees the option for anonymity, so they can ask any question or raise any concern without having to identify themselves. Show employees that their feedback is valued by taking action on their suggestions and concerns. Communicate the steps you are taking to address the feedback and keep employees informed about progress.

Finally, while holding people accountable frequently means putting their feet to the fire, you shouldn’t burn them in the process. Accountability is vital for a company’s growth. If you don’t hold employees accountable you create a culture of mediocrity. Adopting a policy in which everyone on the team strives to meet stated goals creates a positive, rewarding culture in which everyone is proud of the part they play. You can build a culture of openness, trust, and continuous improvement, leading to higher employee engagement and satisfaction.

When people are personally committed to achieving key results, and they never wait to be asked for a progress report or a follow-up plan, you know you have more than a responsible culture. You have an accountable one.

At Yellow Spark, we can support you in building a culture of accountability step by step with our proprietary tool – Culture Triangle©. To know more write to us at contact@yellowspark.in
Author Profile: Deepam Yogi is an adventurer at heart, socially conscious in her gut and professionally a strategic consultant. She co-founded Yellow Spark to support organisations to build workplaces that people love being a part of. Deepam describes herself as a shy yet opinionated writer and firmly believes that most answers to complex issues lie in simple communication.