Culture of Accountability
“Why didn’t this get done?” Boss asked. “I don’t know. Somebody didn’t do their job,” Team said. We’ve all heard interactions similar to this. Who are the somebodies? Who is nobody or everybody? Where is the accountability? Who is taking ownership? Complete and whole ownership is a crucial factor when it comes to creating high-functioning teams. Half-way accepting responsibility is not an option. Each person needs to own their entire weight for the greatest wins to be achieved.
First and foremost, leaders need to take complete ownership not just for themselves but for their teams. Ultimately, a team’s performance is a reflection on leadership. It doesn’t matter how you slice the pie, how you paint the picture, how you manipulate the stats – sooner or later the accurate story of leadership will be exposed. How is the team performing? How much is the team winning? What is the team culture?
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Accountability begins with clarification. Have the goals been clearly defined and tied back to the values and mission of the organization? Have expectations for each team member been clearly defined? What other information is important and helpful for those involved? Has the win been defined? These essential questions will promote accountability because there is no room for excuses. This article emphasizes the significance of developing a culture of accountability with more details about each step in the process. Some team members might travel to the ends of the earth in search of a valid excuse, however, when leaders have provided ample clarification, there is no room for excuses. Only ownership. That is the aim of healthy leaders.
After clarification, then what? What about individuals who fail to meet expectations or don’t follow through on mission? Leaders need to address this directly, promptly, and appropriately. When individuals fail to deliver the leader should not be enabling failure. There is a fine balance between providing support but also empowering others to accomplishing their mini missions. Running from conflict or failing to address this in a timely manner will never lead to positive results.
Furthermore, whole ownership also creates opportunity for the greatest level of transformation. Practicing complete ownership inherently includes self-awareness, humility, and integrity. Own what is yours from start to finish, invest in the mission, and accomplish the win. If that does not happen, what interfered? How can that be avoided in the future? What new strategies need to be implemented? When there is no room for excuses individuals are taught to look inward, and that is when transformation happens. This will likely look different at various organizations, however, there are some general guidelines as mentioned here that will likely apply across the board.
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What about those who refuse ownership? What about the team members who cling to excuses rather than ownership? Perhaps they’re not the best fit for the team or organization. We all know there is another organization two tabs away they can join. If leaders are willing to take a stand to accomplish the greatest wins for the organization, to move the mission forward, all the while staying anchored in core values – nothing less than complete ownership can be accepted.
It takes guts to practice this kind of ownership that some might call absurd. However, this opens the door for greater wins and transformation. It’s worth it. Leaders build trust through modeling ownership and calling others up to higher expectations. If leaders seek excellence and refuse to settle for excuses, greater heights can be reached. This is not to be confused for dictatorial or graceless leadership; however, it is about refusing to foster a culture of anything less than excellent. Regardless of a company’s mission, clearly defining expectations allows leaders to call others up to their next level of extraordinary. This standard of excellence also communicates how much you value your team members. By holding consistent standards and modeling absurd ownership, leaders build trust with their teams. Investing in a culture of accountability is worth it every single time.
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