Is a culture of accountability valued at your business organization? Most of the companies I work with struggle with accountability to some degree. Without a culture of accountability, everything else suffers. When we diagnose the level and culture of accountability in a business organization, it always comes down to the same two things: implicit vs. explicit expectations. Also, how well the leaders walk the talk!
The more explicit leaders and team members are with their expectations, the more accountability we find in the culture. As Dr. Brené Brown says, “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.”
Recognizing Implicit vs. Explicit expectations is the first step toward creating a culture of accountability.
Make a list of all the expectations you have for your team. Now identify whether each of those expectations is implicit– you don’t have it in writing and team members couldn’t necessarily tell someone else what your expectations are, or explicit. Most of the leaders we work with have far more implicit expectations than explicit expectations.
Once you’ve made your expectations explicit, the next step is to be consistent with the consequences. What rewards do you give for a job well done? What are the consequences when someone doesn’t live up to the expectations? Too often, we see leaders who are good at giving rewards (even if it’s simply praised) but don’t hold people accountable when they fall short, and vice versa. You need to be able to do both consistently.
Making accountability a core part of your culture.
When leaders don’t walk the talk consistently, it eats away at their credibility and kills morale. We are working with a manufacturing company now. The owner wants his team to use Kaizen, an element of Lean/Six Sigma that focuses on continuous improvement. However, he has a very low accountability culture, beginning at the top.
I’m coaching his Operations Manager to step into a greater leadership role. She’s doing great but gets frustrated when the CEO won’t back her up on employee issues. He’s dragging his feet about letting a toxic employee go, and when one of their best employees got a job offer from a competitor. He was unwilling to counter the offer to keep this valuable employee.
You can’t expect your culture to change on its own. You as the leader have to set the standards. Develop a clear set of explicit expectations that drive KPIs. Communicate these expectations with everyone on the team. Get buy-in from everyone. Make sure they understand why each expectation is important. And be consistent with both rewards and consequences. You’ll see an improvement in accountability, and I’ll bet you’ll end up with a much more engaged workforce.
At NextGen Orgs, we help small companies whose teams can’t keep up with their growth get to their next level of success, build a culture that supports sustainable profitability, and develop their teams to their highest potential. Schedule a call to learn more.
Take our Leadership Quiz to find out if your workplace has a culture of accountability.