Behind all successful companies is a culture of accountability. Developing the discipline that it takes to foster this culture is at the heart of a well-oiled business. In order to create such an environment, there are some attitude and behavior requirements. We invited Liz Ulloa back to discuss the importance of a culture of accountability, and we shared tips that could help increase the presence of accountability in the workplace.
According to Liz, the culture must be set from the get-go, or else the company will have trouble functioning.
“I think any successful organization starts with a culture for accountability, no matter what,” Liz said. “So if the culture isn’t intact, and it doesn’t start from the top, then it’s really hard to be successful as a whole. In my past life, I feel that every organization that I’ve worked with, if it wasn’t from the top, and the culture wasn’t instilled, it was really hard for accountability to be put in place. Because the comment, or the phrase, was ‘it’s not my job’. But if you have the culture of ‘it’s everyone’s job’, then the responsibility ties in with the accountability, and then you’re successful.”
Setting standards within the workplace is beneficial for its functioning. If expectations are not met, that is when the leaders of the organization can step in, give corrections, and steer the projects back on track. Standards and expectations are how it is possible to ensure that the company is running smoothly and efficiently, because it makes it easier to see what is going wrong.
“If you’re setting parameters, it also allows for coaching from the supervisors,” Vic said. “It’s not necessarily a punishment or blame thing, it’s a correction thing.”
This definitely does not go to say that people can’t make mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable in all aspects of life. In fact, errors often lead to a positive change. Allowing flexibility and criticism creates a dynamic environment that can progress and learn from mistakes – this is a positive result of accountability.
“Something that we need to keep in mind is that, you know, we’re all humans,” Israel said. “We’re going to make mistakes at any point of the game. If you look at, for example, a football game, or a basketball game for that matter, the quarterback throws the ball, he doesn’t necessarily mean to throw the ball to the other team, and sometimes that happens. There’s a fumble, or there’s an interception. And so one mistake, one event, should not define the person. So you want to work in an environment where people can be critical, but you want to have the flexibility to allow team members to grow. One mistake should not define the team or the organization. The person that made the mistakes has to take the whole ownership, and that’s the whole point of accountability. You want to be responsible and take ownership for that mistake. And then the team as a whole should collectively allow the mistakes to happen for the team to grow. But the person who made the mistakes has to own to it and make sure that we have some sort of process in place that helps avoid those mistakes from being made.”
Pointing fingers at others will not do anything but inhibit progress. Having commitment to an organization should coincide with responsibility for your actions, and this kind of commitment will help strengthen accountability.
The best way for a leader in an organization to hold other employees accountable is to give them objectives, tasks, and expectations. As mentioned earlier, standards are clear guidelines that are helpful to keep in mind when working, because employees can know what to do on their part to ensure the success of their branch and the company as a whole. Not to mention, it makes it much easier to hold others accountable when they have their tasks sitting right in front of them.
In summary, accountability is an integral part of career development. Working as a team is required in almost any job you might have, so it is important to learn how to hold yourself and others accountable.