what is a culture of accountability plus 9 steps to build it

Perhaps you have experience managing or supervising maintenance but are new to the field. The leadership concepts presented can be applied to any industry if you’re unsure where to begin or what steps to take. Get ready for a condensed set of tools and advice that represents 25 years of experience and serves as a springboard for maintenance excellence.

NTT GDC Americas, a multinational provider of data centers and telecommunications services, employs Lee McClish as its Director of Maintenance and Reliability. As a Reliability Engineer, Maintenance Engineer, RCM Manager, and Production Manager, he previously worked for BASF, Graphic Packaging, and Packaging Corporation of America. He also worked as a submarine officer for the US Navy. He holds a BSME, MBA, CMRP, CRL, CPMM. Recent book “Maintenance Leadership 101” by him is available on Amazon and was published by Reliability Web.

Here are nine simple steps that you can follow to cultivate a culture of accountability in your workplace:
  1. Define workplace expectations. …
  2. Set strong goals. …
  3. Monitor progress. …
  4. Encourage commitment. …
  5. Communicate consequences. …
  6. Show leadership. …
  7. Take responsibility for mistakes. …
  8. Gather feedback from employees.

Creating A Culture of Accountability

Put concisely: Responsibility is task-oriented, while accountability is results-oriented. It is possible for someone to be both accountable for the completion of a task and responsible for the outcomes, but it is also possible to be both accountable and responsible at the same time, or vice versa. Consider this (simplified) example:

First and foremost, creating an environment of accountability requires perseverance, consistency, and perhaps a change in the leadership of the organization. This is not something that occurs immediately or even within a few months. A long-term strategy is necessary if you want to benefit from a culture of accountability. A few other tips:

To truly create an accountability culture that endures, personal accountability must be developed at all organizational levels. It will take time and effort to increase accountability, as well as possibly some trial and error along the way. But incorporating accountability into your corporate culture will enhance worker performance and engagement, which will ultimately lead to the success of your business.

Employees have more “skin in the game” when they take accountability for not just finishing their tasks but also the results of their tasks. They have a greater stake in the tasks’ success, which typically results in better performance. A few examples of the advantages of an accountable culture are as follows:

Accountability is a key component of any organization’s success. However, it’s all too simple to dismiss it as one of those corporate buzzwords that may sound good, but don’t actually help you achieve your goals. Additionally, similar to engagement, implementing accountability can seem like a hazy concept that you know you need to do but are unsure of what it exactly entails, let alone how to do so in your company’s culture.

What does accountability mean in the workplace?

Every employee must be accountable for their actions, behaviors, performance, and decisions in the workplace. Additionally, it’s associated with higher levels of commitment to work and employee morale, both of which boost performance.

Realizing that the outcomes of your work affect other team members and overall company performance. When employees are held accountable, they take ownership of the results and don’t think it’s the responsibility of someone else.

Essentially, it’s the opposite of passing the buck.

The concept of the directly responsible individual (DRI), coined by Apple, is the perfect example of accountability at work. Everything at Apple, big or small, is assigned to someone who’s directly responsible for it.

DRIs are responsible for the accomplishment or failure of the projects they are tasked with. By clearly stating who is responsible, there is less opportunity for blame-shifting and greater transparency regarding decision-making.

In the end, trust is built when team members consistently show ownership and accountability. This results in less micromanaging and higher performance.

What happens when there’s a lack of accountability at work?

Simply put: The team suffers from a lack of accountability.

One person’s delay becomes the team’s delay when people aren’t held responsible. One shortfall snowballs into bigger shortfalls.

When unfinished work, missed deadlines, and poor punctuality are accepted, they often start to become the norm. People pick up habits like consistently arriving 10 minutes late for meetings and turning in work that isn’t up to par. The real deadline is one week after the one that was published. Your team suffers, and ultimately your workplace culture suffers too.

When a team member doesn’t follow through on their commitments and isn’t held accountable, the other team members become frustrated and disengaged.

According to Partners In Leadership, a lack of accountability in the workplace leads to:

  • Low team morale
  • Unclear priorities across the team
  • Decreased employee engagement
  • Unmet team and individual goals
  • Low levels of trust
  • High turnover
  • Although accountability is frightening, it is also incredibly valuable for both an individual’s and a company’s culture.

    People adapt; it happens all the time. The best part is that it will eventually start to make your job easier. It is simpler because you can use accountability as a benchmark to hold people to once it has been ingrained in the culture. Accountability has such tremendous power that it can both be praised and corrected.

    You must pay close attention to any changes in the right direction. Give them the same weight as you would issues; be specific in your criticism and let them know what is working. Recognize accountability when it occurs, even if it isn’t perfect.

    In fact, those workers who want to advance, improve, and contribute will do so by imitating a responsible leader. Again using the example of the kids, they imitate what they observe the adults in their lives doing. Your team members will follow your example and that of the top-down leadership style.

    I frequently get asked how to foster an environment of accountability. Accountability is one of the most frequently brought up subjects by leaders in everything from individual coaching to group workshops to public speaking engagements.


    How do you build a culture of accountability?

    Gallup’s research and consulting experience shows that, to promote accountability, leaders and managers should:
    1. Define what people are accountable for. …
    2. Set and cascade goals throughout the organization. …
    3. Provide updates on progress. …
    4. Align development, learning and growth. …
    5. Recognize and celebrate progress.

    What is a culture of accountability?

    People at every level of the organization are personally committed to achieving the key outcomes targeted by the team or organization in a culture of accountability. They also never wait to be requested for a progress report or follow-up plan.

    What is meant by a culture of accountability and why is it important?

    Simply put, accountability in the workplace refers to holding staff members and executives accountable for completing tasks, making decisions, and reaching goals. A culture of accountability makes it more likely for workers to show up for their shifts, know what is expected of them, and meet deadlines.

    What are the steps to accountability?

    Proactively establishing accountability comes down to these four steps:
    1. Define. Define the behavior or outcome that is needed. …
    2. Communicate. Expectations can be discussed during a staff or faculty meeting, in an email, or in a one-on-one conversation.
    3. Assess. …
    4. Follow through.

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