Accountability seems to have only two modes in the work place – good and evil.  Unfortunately until you understand both sides, you may be avoiding it and missing out on the benefits accountability brings.

In my work with Leaders and organizations, I am often supporting them to install greater levels of accountability in the culture to increase engagement and overall results from their teams. In many of those situations, accountability has been avoided because of its past use as a tool to strengthen the command and control style of management. That tends to sounds like “You suck!” and only points out when others get it wrong.  This would be accountability being used for evil and it is filled with blame, guilt and perfection.

Accountability is not enforced on others. It is used in explicit agreement with others when everyone decides on meaningful goals and timelines and sets out to accomplish those. That does not mean it is OK to slack off or not follow through. Be prepared to be tough and get in your own face or your teams and find out what happened and why if the results are not met. Reset the goal and timeline using your learning and get on it!

When accountability is used for good, it is a powerful tool that has you and your team ‘do what it takes’ to get things done in a timely manner and creates results you may not have thought possible. It is used to catch people getting it right and celebrate when they win, while incorporating all the learning along the way.

What is your experience with accountability? Leave a comment below.

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