Teaching Accountability for Better Performance in 4 Simple Steps

by Editorial Team on January 26, 2022

Leading your business means paying attention to performance and holding your team accountable for results. 

However, enforcing accountability continues to be a major headache for many leaders today. According to CEO Benchmarking Reports, holding people accountable is cited as one of the biggest challenges leaders struggle with. Leaders report that 20% of their people avoid accountability.

A lack of accountability in the workplace negatively impacts culture, morale, and performance. It also affects a leader's credibility and ultimately impacts their ability to motivate high-performing individuals.

So what can leaders do to ensure this doesn’t happen on their team? And if it is happening, how can they quickly and effectively change it?

Today we're diving into the 4 simple steps you can use to teach better accountability in others.

There are 4 steps to successfully transfer ownership and teach accountability to others:

  1. Identify. Research shows clear goals and plans are the most effective way of achieving success. Your role is to think of the big picture and how all the cogs fit together in the machine. When determining responsibility and accountability, spend time identifying the risk and rewards associated with the task. Note who is involved in the task and the outcome, and who feels pain when it’s not accomplished. This helps you get clear on who should be involved, informed, and ultimately responsible for the results.

  2. Own. Decide who ultimately ‘owns’ the task and what outcomes are directly tied to them. Make sure the task or project is clear, measurable, and agreed upon. Identifying rewards and consequences make it easier to teach accountability as psychology shows that people are much more emotionally tied to personal outcomes. (personal note: this should never be interpreted as making threats! Instead, it’s creating a close relationship to the goal in order to strengthen personal responsibility.)

  3. Educate. With decisions made, it’s key to educate that team member on the plan. They need to be aware of the goal, importance, and direct outcomes tied to them. This is where your insight into your teams personality can really benefit you. Understanding how they best receive and retain information will impact how they align with the big picture. Understanding their natural drivers and demotivators will also allow you to support them in self-discipline. Consider using assessment tools to better understand your team member's personality type.

  4. Update. Decide on an appropriate update cadence with the team member once they feel fully educated and prepared to complete the tasks. This ensures you remain aware of progress without micromanaging. It also keeps individuals aware of their commitment, improving accountability through visibility. Research shows having a specific accountability appointment with someone you’ve committed to increases the probability of success by 95%. Self-discipline improvement can take a long time, and regular monitoring of progress with assistance in analyzing setbacks or celebrating wins will help. This keeps the momentum building and helps enforce personal accountability habits.

Teaching others accountability is no easy task. Nevertheless, it's essential to your leadership effectiveness and business success. High-performance teams can be built by using these 4 steps to teach practical accountability. As a result, your team will be able to work more efficiently together for better outcomes. And that means your business continues to thrive.

Topics: Team Performance