Accountability Is Key To Organizational And Personal Success

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Accountability is one of the most important principles of governance, both in the private and public sectors. As former Alberta MP John G. Williams defined it, “accountability is doing the right thing consistently, day in and day out, in tasks and relationships to fulfill or further the mission of the organization.” It is doing what you say you are going to do – always. It means eliminating blame, excuses, complaining and procrastination. An organization that lacks accountability does not perform to its potential. This can result in conflict, inefficiency, having to re-do work, defective products or unsatisfied customers. For a company, this can lead to reduced profits and a damaged public image. In the public sector, it causes citizens to lose confidence and trust in their government. While a lack of accountability can be disastrous, an accountable organization produces improved employee performance, increased employee commitment, more innovation and creativity, increased morale and job satisfaction. For this to happen, leaders must create a system that encourages accountability:

  • State your expectations and make sure employees know their roles.
  • Implement a follow-up system of accountability with regular meetings to measure and track performance and results.
  • Put clear consequences in place, as well as rewards and recognition.
  • Lead by example. Show you are holding yourself to the same standards. Follow through on your promises and own up to your mistakes.

In the end though, accountability starts with each individual. Each of us is accountable for the choices we make. And when you are accountable, your friends, family members, colleagues and bosses know they can trust and depend on you. Personal accountability is also good for your career. It shows managers in your organization that you are someone with leadership potential. To become more accountable:

  •  Be sure you are clear about your role and responsibilities so you know what is expected of you.
  • If you are wrong, admit your mistakes, apologize and move on
  • Manage your time carefully so you don’t take on too much and let someone down.
  • Learn from the times when you did not take responsibility and look for ways to do things differently next time