Before there can be accountability, there must be responsibility.
The responsibility of committing to a decision, of taking ownership of a challenge, of striving to make a difference. It’s the opposite of compliance – of just doing the job, of not taking a risk, of doing what everyone else is doing.
What matters is a person’s willingness to see what’s wrong or what could be better, and then striving to do something about it. It’s a transformation of self-interest into shared interest. And it’s a leader’s job to facilitate this conversion within their teams, and to motivate the team’s required action.
Once the action starts, accountability becomes the focus.
Research studies of outstanding companies cite that 50% of goal achievement is due to the contributions of accountability and competency; strategy, leadership, and culture add the other 50%. Individual and team accountability comprise equal measures of consistent outcome success.
Leaders of high performing teams appreciate the mutual dependence of individual and team accountability, and its role in enabling the integration of self and shared interest to improve results.
They also realize that accountability begins with them. Before assessing their team’s performance, they consider how accountable they are to the team and to themselves, for how they speak and act, for how consistently they model their company’s values.
Is the direction clear and understood as being necessary? Have the tools and other required resources been made available? Have communications and opportunities to exchange views been sufficient to sustain team commitment? Have promises been kept? How often has it been necessary to apologize for making the wrong call? What could be done better to elevate team performance?
Transforming individual self-interest into team mutual dependence and shared accountability reflects the maturing competency of a leader.
How well are you facilitating this transformation?