Skip links

Workplace Ethics #9 Accountability

I have had the privilege of running my own organization and I know from firsthand experience the importance of accountability in the work place. I strongly believe in hierarchies and observing protocol no matter the setting, I know that probably sounds out dated more so for the dot com generation but certain principles are simply eternal, that is they cut across generations. I work with young people who come in believing they can do what they want whenever they want to and still get away with it.
I come from a generation that was raised to be accountable right from home to your work place. I find it odd when a colleague just storms out of the office without any notification and the rest of us have to figure out where you went in case someone needs you. I find it even more disturbing when people spend company time and resources attending to personal work without a sense of remorse for breach of contract in some way. Accountability is a timeless principle that we must embrace even in the workplace.
Employee accountability is the ability of an employee to satisfy expectations and responsibilities to anyone impacted by their actions. This includes internal agents such as managers, investors and other employees but also external agents such as customers, business partners and more. Accountability at work is important to a business’s success as a whole. Every employee, no matter what level of seniority is equally responsible for aiding in the success of the company.
At minimum, taking ownership means that if you recognize something is material to achieving results, that you take the initiative to bring it to the attention of the right people. If ownership is about taking initiative, accountability is about follow through and getting done what you said you’d get done. It’s recognizing that other team members are dependent on the results of your work and not wanting to let them down. It’s about good, open, pro-active communication to keep team members informed on the status of your commitments because you respect that the results of your work has a direct impact on their ability to make their own commitments. 
Employees should keep their peers accountable when they fail to meet up to the demands of their job, in the same way they should recognize them when they do good work. Because if employees look around and see that some individuals can do certain things and get away with them, then they will grow resentful that some can get away with those behaviors but others can’t.
Monitoring your employees’ progress will help motivate them to be more productive and accountable. It is only natural that when we know someone is watching our progress that we will try to perform to our best abilities. Along with monitoring employee progress, it is equally important to share progress reports with them so they may learn what areas need more attention and what areas they are excelling in.
Personal accountability at work can encompass everything from employees being accountable for themselves, making themselves indispensable, to managers and people in leadership roles showing personal accountability in order to foster an environment of accountability in the office with their employees. If you are not in a management role, demonstrating accountability at work will prove that you are a valuable asset to the company and it will make you an indispensable commodity.

If you are a manager or in a management position, displaying personal accountability will help build a culture of accountability in your company. Your employees will watch as you create an acceptance and understanding of accountability, and will more than likely follow your actions. Knowing that personal accountability is something that even the management is responsible for will help employees feel balanced and bonded through that shared responsibility.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.