It’s what all business leaders aspire to provide their teams with but many struggle to fully give – to the detriment of everyone.
That’s because, instead of empowering people to take full responsibility for their own projects with autonomy, business owners are worried about fully letting tasks go, usually under the excuse of trying to save or protect their staff.
However, this means that employees are prevented from developing, owners never have enough time because they’re doing everything, and all of this holds back business growth.
Does this sound a little familiar? You’re not alone!
Here’s how to overcome this so you can assign accountability and grow your business.
What prevents accountability in the workplace?
As a business owner, accountability involves assigning full responsibility for certain projects to the right people. This means they’re responsible for their own triumphs and failures – both of which they (and your business) benefit from.
When each person in the workplace acknowledges their tasks and does their part, this creates a healthy ethos and business-wide productivity.
However, giving full accountability can often be viewed as negative or scary, as it encourages vulnerability. In response, business leaders may feel the need to simply take over projects to ensure that their employees won’t make mistakes and their business and reputation remains protected.
The problem with this approach is that, as a leader, you are unintentionally positioning yourself as the ‘hero’ or ‘sole expert’ of the team and compromising your ability to focus on the responsibilities you should be fulfilling, as well as your team’s ability to grow.
It’s time to make your staff more accountable
A lack of accountability not only affects you as the leader, but it also impacts your business and staff too. When you don’t allow your team to produce results – good or bad – you’re taking away their opportunity to learn from their mistakes and improve in their role. It also robs them of the satisfaction of project ownership and autonomy.
Because of this, a lack of accountability can lead to:
- low morale
- low levels of confidence
- vague priorities and objectives
- mediocre work and missed deadlines
- finger-pointing and miscommunication
- a lack of trust, and
- a high turnover rate
To help your team grow, you need to promote and instil accountability in your workplace, starting with yourself. This way, your staff will start to take ownership of their own projects and their decisions, leaving you time to do your own.
It will also give them confidence knowing that you trust them and that they can still come to you when things don’t go to plan.
5 tips for encouraging accountability in the workplace
Here are 5 things that you can do to ensure you and your team can learn to embrace accountability in your organisation:
- Delegate tasks with absolute specificity about the outcomes expected.
Assign the right tasks to the right person and allow them to see the project through. Be specific about deadlines and the purpose of each task. You must also help them understand the importance of their role and accept their responsibility for any outcome.
- Ensure your team has ample resources.
Understand the resources you’re working with. Are you understaffed? Working on a tight schedule? Working with faulty equipment? Have you provided enough training support?
Insufficient resources can impede the ability of your team to succeed. By paying attention to your resources, you can provide better working conditions and encourage your team to take ownership of their work.
- Check yourself the moment you realise you’re intervening.
Keep yourself from micromanaging. I know we all want what’s best for our business, but you need to let your staff help you. In order for you and your business to grow, you must allow your employees to do their part and thrive. Give your staff the autonomy to bring their best work to the table.
- Reflect and ask questions in the wake of undesirable outcomes.
We all dread the thought of a negative or unsatisfactory outcome. However, before you start to regret delegating to your team, remember that there is always something to learn from mistakes.
With accountability comes transparency and honesty. Start the conversation with your team, no matter how difficult it may seem. This will help to identify what can be done better in the future to avoid making similar errors.
It’s important to understand that dodging these difficult conversations will only set your business up to repeat past mistakes.
- Remember that most mistakes in business are rarely fatal.
Everyone makes mistakes, no matter how experienced they are – and that includes you. So, just know that, most of the time, these failures mean a small setback, not a business-breaking event. Don’t let catastrophising “what could happen” get in the way of giving your team the space and the opportunity to try.
Accountability needs to start with you
As a leader, you need to model ideal behaviour and set an example. Practising accountability, showing commitment, and critiquing without prejudice will inspire others to follow in your footsteps.
Keep in mind, however, that fostering a healthy working culture through accountability is not an overnight task. Habits need to be unlearned and gradual improvements need to be made. This will take time.
It’s also important to use an accountability approach that won’t place pressure on yourself or your employees. Pressure-based motivation will simply paralyse your team, while encouragement will energise them to get the results that you desire.
Do you need help to empower your team through accountability?
Promoting accountability amongst yourself and your team is an important step towards better collaboration, efficiency and trust within your workplace.
As a Business Coach and Mentor, I work with business owners like you to guide you on the path towards achieving your business goals through accountability.
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