How To Increase Accountability

Do you accept accountability for your actions, or do you get defensive and start pointing fingers?

Being accountable isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary and valuable. Accountability fosters teamwork, builds trust, and enables you to DO something about the problem!

“Accountability doesn’t happen just by chance. It has to be implemented.”

What is Accountability?

Accountability is the willingness to accept responsibility and embrace the consequences for one’s actions, decisions, and choices. You take ownership of situations that you’re involved in.

The Accountability Ladder is based on Roger Connors; Tom Smith; and Craig Hickman’s bookThe Oz Principle – Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability“, which is a fantastic tool for learning about being accountable.

This ladder depicts a spectral range of behaviors from the least accountable (level 1) to the most accountable (level 8).

Level 1: Being unaware. This represents someone who is completely unaware that there is a goal to achieve.

Level 2: Blaming others. This represents someone who is informed but refuses to accept accountability for anything and instead blames it on someone else.

Level 3: Rationalize things. This represents someone who will defend himself for not being accountable.

Level 4: Stand by. This represents someone who chooses not to act, hoping that the issue will be resolved by itself.

Level 5: Acceptance. This represents someone who admits that there is a problem and that action must be taken.

Level 6: Recognizing the role. This represents someone who is not only embracing whatever needs to happen, but also willing to accept their part in it.

Level 7: Look for solutions. This represents someone who seeks solutions to problems.

Level 8: Take action.  This represents someone who takes all appropriate measures to accomplish the work.

How To Improve Accountability? 

Here are some pointers to help you build accountability!

  • Establish Realistic Expectations. 

Accountability gaps are created by a lack of clarity and unrealistic expectations. The first step is to understand your role. You’ll need to know what your responsibilities are and what you’re accountable for. The expectations must be clearly defined in order to achieve your goals and objectives.

  • Recognize Mistakes. 

If you make a mistake, admit it, set aside your pride, and demonstrate what you are willing to do to make things right. Most of us must find it difficult to admit being wrong, but it’s a necessary step toward learning, growing, and improving ourselves.

  • Include Someone in the Goal-Setting Process. 

Engaging others in the work is an important part of accountability and contributes to a healthy, positive work environment. It does not imply having someone take on the responsibility, but rather having someone provide feedback on your progress and areas where you can still improve to achieve the goal.

In conclusion

Accountability must be practiced. It begins with awareness and ownership. It begins with you. When there is a clear and consistent strategy for implementation and validation, it will have a significant impact on performance and results.