Accountability in the Workplace | Main Region | UB
Accountability in the workplace
Here, we explore why accountable employees are valued and how to improve your workplace accountability skills.
What is accountability?
Accountable employees perform to the standards their employers expect. They deliver tasks as agreed and on time. They take responsibility for their actions, both successes and failures.
Importance of accountability in the workplace
In contrast, a lack of accountability leads to missed deadlines, pointed fingers, no commitment or transparency and a failure to achieve individual goals.
Examples of accountability in the workplace
Accountable employees proactively address problems
Instead of joining the chorus, Steve recognises it is part of his responsibility to take proactive steps to find a solution.
Steve introduces product training to help his team. He formalises a new service-level agreement that his team can refer to for better clarity around their own capabilities. Steve builds in more time to provide feedback and support to individual staff members. He also wins support from his manager to secure human resources. This helps diffuse the pressures his team is shouldering.
Morale in the team improves, along with productivity and efficiency. Steve’s employer recognises the positive impact Steve is having by demonstrating accountability.
Accountable employees accept responsibility for mistakes
Veronika has a sinking feeling. It dawns on her she’s been misnaming some files and storing them in incorrect locations.
Instead of hoping the issue blows over, Veronika quickly acts to rectify the problem. She’s up front about her errors, and quick to correct her document management, which her manager appreciates.
Veronika’s admission also ultimately uncovers wider systemic issues within the organisation’s document management protocol. The protocol is updated, and all staff receive the memo about new document management guidelines. The problem is much bigger than Veronika, but she has been instrumental in highlighting it. She earns the trust and respect of her employer by being accountable for her mistake, addressing it, and developing from it.
Accountable employees bring good energy
It’s recognised in her organisation that, if there’s a problem, Fateha will be proactive about playing her part in addressing it until its resolved.
Fateha doesn’t wait for problems to fix themselves if she thinks she’s part of the solution.
Lack of accountability in the workplace examples
Disregarding policies and procedures
Sometimes Dave decides not to wear a safety vest, because he doesn’t think it matters. Dave is always focused on the job in front of him, but he doesn’t consider himself accountable for promoting his organisation’s policies and procedures.
Some of Dave’s colleagues think he is jeopardising safety in the organisation. Dave’s distinct absence of accountability is also dampening morale in the entire team.
Raj has been with his organisation for more than 15 years. For the past seven years, he has been in the same role. He has some set ideas about how things should be done and he’s sensitive to feedback.
His employer wants him to continue to develop to help the organisation thrive. But lately, Raj has been especially combative and resistant to feedback.
Raj’s employer is considering recruiting another engineer prepared for greater accountability. Raj would report to the new hire instead of receiving a promotion to undertake the position himself.
Refusing to help colleagues
Lately, other staff members are too uncomfortable to approach her. One colleague is considering raising the issue with upper-management.
Jenny is widely regarded as a poor team-player who is holding an otherwise high performing team back.
How to improve accountability in the workplace
- Seek out feedback so you stay in tune with your accountabilities
- Don't only take on board positive feedback - carefully consider negative feedback, too
- Take stock of all your main daily tasks to understand your accountabilities
- Revisit any vague expectations and solidify outcomes with your manager
- Put accountability systems in place. For instance, manage your time to ensure you deliver outcomes as required
- Set clear and actionable goals in the areas you need to improve the most
- Set timeframes for achieving your goals
- Regularly track your progress, and adjust your goals and priorities as needed.