Work Environment

Strengthen the Culture of Accountability in the Workplace

If the goal of your business is to thrive, then be sure to strengthen the culture of accountability in the workplace. What does this mean exactly? Read below to find out!


When we consider the purpose of accountability in the workplace, we must consider the fact that most American workers are disengaged and are barely emotionally invested in what they do for a living. And it’s overwhelmingly a management issue.


Accountability is not only a critical element in establishing an employer-employee relationship that leads to tangible and impressive results, but it is the key to trust. Trust that allows an organization to function far more self-sufficiently and without the constant watchful eye of a resented taskmaster.


By bringing workers to care more for their role in the future and success of an organization, you allow them to play a part as a leader. They bear the responsibility for their own actions and their part in an organization’s success. And that only they can truly lead themselves towards making that contribution.


Yet to harness an employee’s passion, employers and managers must begin to strengthen the culture of accountability. Rather than relying on ineffective motivators or a superficial attention to teamwork.


Accountability Builds Trust


At the heart of the matter is the role of trust in an organization. Trust is a self-evident necessity in any group endeavor. That is because people are not uniform beings. We each have our own unique capacity for productivity, for honesty, and for discipline. And every employee has their own unique perspective of what they are owed and what they care about.


If you cannot trust that every member of your team has the capacity to adapt to the requirements of the job, in exchange for basic and individually tailored concessions to help them perform better, then the whole thing falls apart. Without trust in their abilities, and without them having trust in your capacity to listen to them and bring out the best in each of them, your workers will try to skirt responsibility, do the minimum, or only work in fear of being fired.


By prioritizing accountability as an important quality in the workplace, you are effectively entrusting your workers with the responsibility to play a significant role at work, and conferring a sense of mutual respect as you retain the ability to enforce that responsibility, yet also believe they have what it takes to live up to your expectations.


Trust Leads to Quality 


When workers begin to feel the stakes, they begin to work at a better capacity. We aren’t built to give our all every single day – and we each have our ups and downs – but a team that functions on accountability and trust is a team where every member has some skin in the game. And this spurns them to do their best regardless of what that might be, as their work naturally reflects on them, and the success of the business is something they can ultimately identify with.


To make the most of an employee’s talents, they must feel that their work is being rewarded in correlation to how well it is being performed. And that when they slack off, they feel it and are reminded of the importance of their commitment to the organization, and that when they do their best, they receive an award commensurate to the effort they put into being an accountable and responsible team member.


When you seek to enforce that sense of accountability and ensure that everyone feels they have skin in the game, you must find ways to reward effort and discourage disengagement.



Establish the Importance of Accountability Early On


A culture of accountability is only built by example. Make it a point, especially during the interview process and throughout the first few weeks of orientation and work, to drive home the point that a worker’s input is valued. And that their efforts are proportionally rewarded based on the results they bring in.


Give workers a myriad of ways to express themselves and ensure that they frequently hear about how they’re doing as well. Ensure that they understand that their work is a living breathing part of the business. And that its success relies on them. Furthermore, that they can benefit off the fruits of that success with better pay, bonuses, certain benefits, freedoms at work, or any number of tangible rewards. This allows them to celebrate alongside everyone else as they watch the company grow and mature.


This is especially true for small businesses. Success is often a question of just how many in the company are willing to work past the normal 9-to-5 for extraordinary results.


Give & Receive Frequent Feedback 


Communication is critical to accountability. Employees must be reminded of their responsibilities and the role they play. They must be given the opportunity to speak earnestly about the challenges that are keeping them from performing at their best.


A good leader knows how to draw the most out of their workers not by draining them, but by empowering them to push their limits. In addition, to seek out breaks when they need to and come back stronger, to give them the sense that they can be honest about their problems, and to teach them to expect only honest answers back.


It’s a two-way street, for both negative and positive feedback. And it’s only through a trusting and honest employee-employer relationship backed up by frequent communication that workers can remain engaged and feel truly accountable.


Workers Want to Matter (and Get Paid)


Why do we work? If it’s just to feed the kids, then we’ll do what we must to provide for those we love. Work becomes a toll on the soul that we must heal and nourish in every way possible. As it’s something we have no control over, no agency in. We begin to burn out.


But when we find that our work has purpose, when we can feel like a vibrant part of something growing and dynamic, when we can be a part of the ups and downs of a growing company or concept, or when we sense that our work is changing someone’s life in one way or another, we can nourish ourselves with a sense of purpose beyond the daily grind, a reason for getting up and doing what we do past a sense of obligation or the need to survive.


Conferring that to your workers via accountability and trust can help turn them from being disengaged to knowing that they matter.


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