Cultivating Accountability

A common issue that arises among personnel and leadership is the problem of accountability.  As I was reading through the NIV Leadership Bible I came across the following scripture and accompanying article.

Galatians 6:7 says, "A man reaps what he sows."  If we want to reap a workforce of service, performance, and excellence, then, as leaders we must demonstrate those qualities and also hold others accountable for meeting this expectation.  Theo Gilbert-Jamison gives the following five steps for holding employees accountable.

  1. Clearly define the expectation or standard - often times in the workplace when accusations are flying and goals are not being met, it is related to an incorrect or ill perceived expectation. Sometimes it becomes necessary to communicate the expectations of each individuals part on the team, so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to realistic expectations, and maintaining the standard. "People cannot be held accountable for what they have not been informed of."  
  2. Involve staff in efforts to raise the bar - after the expectation and standards have been set, allow all personnel to comment on, discuss, and voice their opinions or concerns on the new standard.  If everyone is talking about it, then you can be sure that it is understood and achieve buy-in.
  3. Integrate the new standard - Gilbert-Jamison says, "...expectations must be fully integrated into every aspect of the work environment to include the training and development process, performance review criteria, and all applicable systems and work processes."
  4. Set up measurements to quantify success - establish measurements and indicators to assess the effectiveness of the new standard, and ensure that it is being followed or implemented properly. This is a primary use for accountability, it allows this assessment to happen naturally.
  5. Recognize success and coach for improvement - accountability reveals our strengths and weaknesses. When we identify these, we can then focus our coaching and development efforts where they are most needed.