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Get Rid Of Self-Accountability Issues Once And For All

Self-accountability is one of the most valuable skills a leader can master. Leadership accountability sets the foundation for a company's culture, productivity, effectiveness, and overall success. Many leaders, however, acknowledge that they have a lot of room to grow in this area. Here's how you can solve your accountability struggles.

What is Self-Accountability?

Self-accountability is a way of living in which you take responsibility for your actions both personally and professionally. You learn from your mistakes, and you don't blame others, ignore problems, or hide from your shortcomings. Instead, you embrace those struggles as a chance to learn and grow.

Cision PR Newswire found that "Despite 72% of business leaders and HR professionals recognizing that leadership accountability is a critical business issue, only 31% are satisfied by the level of accountability they see from the leaders in their organization." This leads us to see that self-accountability is essential with such a wide gap between expectation and reality.

Why is Self-Accountability Important?

Why is leadership accountability so crucial for the business, and why do so many leaders struggle to maintain accountability?

When leaders or individuals take responsibility for their actions rather than blaming someone else, it allows people to learn, grow, and problem-solve together, which is vital for the success of both the team and the organization.

Forbes points out that an organization that fosters accountability reaps the benefits of:

  • Strengthening company culture
  • Empowering employees and teams
  • Encouraging positive business outcomes
  • Ensuring ownership and higher productivity
  • Building trust with leadership and teams
  • Setting realistic expectations
  • Achieving goals through high performance
  • Setting measurable and achievable performance indicators
  • Defining the company's mission

Often, it's up to the leaders to set the tone for the rest of the organization to follow. Without accountability from leaders, teams and individuals may feel like they don't have to be held accountable for their actions. As a leader, it's imperative to implement accountability, alignment, and focus throughout your organization to help your team thrive.

How to Become an Accountable Leader

Leaders must be hyper-aware of their self-accountability. To improve on that, you may want to look at yourself and how to hold yourself accountable.

Check-in with Yourself

You can do a quick check to hold yourself accountable when a problem arises.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you willing to admit when something was “your fault"?
  • When you do acknowledge your part in an issue, do you then follow it up with an excuse?
  • How willing are you to say "I don't know" when you don't have the answer?

Knowing where you land with these questions allows you to take responsibility for any actions that could have led to the current problem.

Communicate Often

Transparency is a catalyst for communication and accountability throughout an organization. It is a look into what is happening between your team, other departments, and your entire organization.

Self-accountable leaders make sure that their decisions and action plans are clearly understood by everyone involved. They communicate with their teams often and make sure everything is clear. If it is not, then adjust the plans or clarify as needed. They also follow up and ask for input from their team frequently.

Team Accountability

Landmark Workplace Study states, "When it comes to holding others accountable, 82% of survey participants say they either try but fail or avoid it altogether." Not only do you have to be more accountable, but you must hold your team accountable as well.

To help your team be more accountable, look at these four areas:

  • Clear Expectations – is your direction clear and concise?
  • Capability – does the person know how to do the job?
  • Tools and Resources – are the expectations unrealistic because you did not give them the time or resources needed?
  • Motivation – are they motivated to do it?

Give Positive Feedback

Many leaders aren't good at giving effective positive feedback. This is because they are far too vague or their negative feedback outweighs their positive reinforcement. Or most commonly, feedback is given too far "after the fact," and the feedback loses its impact.

When you see your team doing something well, acknowledge it right away. This will increase the likelihood of them repeating that behavior. Accountability can take time to build and develop, and encouraging your team can go a long way.

Many leaders' feedback ratios are a 1:10 ratio of positive to negative feedback. However, if you really want to influence behavior, action, or accountability, you should have a 5:1 positive to constructive feedback ratio.

Time Management

Effective and accountable leaders care about resources – none more important than their time. They use their time wisely because they know how valuable it is. Leaders may tend to take on too many responsibilities and not have time to follow through on the key things they need to accomplish. By managing your time well, you can create space for those things that are the most important.

Managing your time well looks like:

  • Limiting meetings
  • Preparing for the following day, week, month, etc.
  • Prioritizing a to-do list
  • Setting boundaries
  • Delegating tasks

Being smart with your time allows you to be self-accountable and hold your team accountable as well.

In the End

Self-accountability is a crucial marker of a successful organization. Start by looking at your personal accountability, communicate with your team, hold your team more accountable, give more frequent feedback, and manage your time well. Leadership and employees must all learn to develop self-accountability to create an environment of responsibility, trust, and innovation.

About Gary Braun

Gary is a founder and co-owner of Pivotal Advisors. He has worked for 20+ years as a salesperson and sales leader. Gary has been a guest speaker for many groups such as Vistage, Allied Executives, CEO Roundtable, Sales Management Association, and more. If you want to find out more about Gary check out his profile here.
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