Accountability is vital if you want to have success in anything you do. If you are a business owner or manager, showing your employees the importance of responsibility can make your company more successful. It raises employee morale, and it increases the retention rates of clients and workers, which leads to higher profits.
What is Accountability
When you take accountability, you are responsible for your actions. You do not pass the blame off on others. You give your all to everything you do and make it a priority to get your work done. If you are not able to complete a task, you admit your faults.
Importance of Accountability in Management
Accountability within a company starts at the top. It is impossible to hold lower-level employees responsible for their actions if you do not lead by example. When you allow the management in your organization to pass the blame on to others or get away with not taking accountability, the employees will not feel it necessary to do the same.
When managers are accountable for their actions, and they are forthcoming about their faults, it builds trust at all levels of the company. The leaders in your company are an example to the people that work under them. So, it is most important to instill accountability in them.
How to Promote Accountability in Managers
When you decide to develop a culture of accountability in your business, it is essential to start at the top. So, you need to work with your managers first. After your managers master it, you can teach the employees to do the same.
You can teach leaders to be accountable by having them take responsibility not only for their actions but also for the actions of the people they lead.
Assign Specific Responsibilities
Every manager should have a set of tasks that they are responsible for completing. They can do them personally or delegate them to others, but they should make sure everything they are in charge of is complete promptly.
Allow People to Right Wrongs
If something does not get done, allow people to develop a plan to make things right. When you do this, your managers are less likely to pass the blame on the people who work for them. They also know that when things do not go right, they are going to have to fix them instead of just blaming others.
Create Timelines and Outline Expectations
People must know when you expect them to complete tasks. Creating timelines for when things need to be done is the best way to keep everyone on the same page. If you have difficulty communicating these timelines to your management team, send them in an email and ask them to respond, or have them sign a document.
If something is not complete on time, you can refer back to the document where you outlined your expectations. It is hard for someone to argue with their signature.
Be There When They Need Assistance
Instead of making your management team figure out everything on their own, be there to help them if they need assistance. Just because someone is in a leadership position does not mean they will always know all of the answers, so make sure if they need help, you are available to them.
If you are often out of the office or in meetings, create a way for the people in charge of managing employees to get in contact with you. Or, hold regular meetings so that they can obtain the answers they need to get their jobs done effectively.
Importance of Accountability in Employees
Holding employees accountable is crucial to creating a positive work environment. If there is no accountability, it affects everyone in the office, especially those who complete their assigned tasks efficiently.
Companies that do not put importance on the accountability of their employees have low employee retention rates. No one wants to work for a company where they are the only person who does their job. So, you will not only lose employees; you will lose your best employees.
In contrast, when you make accountability a part of your business culture, you will notice that it is easier to get jobs done. People spend less time procrastinating because they know that if they do not finish a task on time, it will be their responsibility to fix it.
How to Make Employees Accountable
When your company has previously not made accountability necessary, it can be challenging to make changes. However, you have to start somewhere. Making small steps toward creating a more accountable workforce will help your business be more successful, and it will make your employees happier.
Start at the Top
As a business owner, you need to show others how to be accountable before you ask them to do the same. Then, you need to teach managers to take accountability. Once you have systems in place that make it easy to hold the leaders in your company responsible for their actions, you can move on to keeping the employees accountable.
Set Clear Expectations
If you want people to be responsible, you need to let them know what you expect them to do. Assign tasks to specific people so each employee knows what they should focus on, and so you know who to go to if the job is not complete.
Take Responsibility for Employee Accountability
It is not enough just to tell employees what they are supposed to do. You need to check on their progress regularly. That does not mean you need to micromanage them, but you also do not need to leave them and assume everything is getting done.
Some employees might get everything done, but others will take the opportunity to let things slide if you do not check on their progress. So, let workers know when they will have reviews and stick with those times. It is also a good idea to check on them from time to time.
Make these meetings an opportunity for them to share any issues they have, not just about checking up on their progress. If they have a problem, help them resolve it so that they can get things back on track. When you do this, it takes away any opportunity they have to pass blame.
When your team does well, celebrate their success. No one wants to work all the time without receiving any recognition. If you want employees to continue positive behavior, it is important to praise them. Make doing what you want them to do worth their while.
Do Not Scold People
If an employee does not perform up to your expectations, do not share this with the entire office. Privately speak to them and help them develop a plan for doing better next time. When people are scared to come to you when they fail, they are more likely to blame others. So, it is better to work with people and help them develop a plan for their future success.
Do Not Be Afraid to Show Employees Your Shortcomings
If you mess something up, do not be afraid to let your employees know. Leaders are not perfect all the time. Being transparent about your faults helps you be more relatable and helps others know it is okay for them to own up to their mistakes, as well.
Hold Everyone Accountable
When you are creating a culture of accountability, it is essential to hold everyone to the same standards. If you only make some employees accountable, those employees will lose respect for you and their co-workers. It makes the employees you hold responsible feel singled out.
Be Available to Answer Questions
It is not fair for employees to expect them to get things done if they do not have access to help when they have questions. If you want people to be responsible for their actions, you have to give them the tools they need to succeed. Part of that is being available when they need you.
If you or your leaders are not readily available during the workday, set a time when you are available, so employees know when they can expect to get their questions answered. It is also important because if they have problems with customers, they need to be able to provide the customer with a reliable timeframe for answering their questions.
Importance of Being Accountable to Customers
Showing accountability to customers is an essential part of providing customer service. However, many benefits go beyond helping your customers. Businesses benefit from being accountable to customers, as well. Some of the ways your business benefits from being accountable are:
- Building long term client relationships
- Saving you and the customer time
- Better understanding the needs of your clients
- Higher customer retention, which leads to higher profits
Being accountable to customers is essential to the success of your business. If you do not take responsibility for your actions, customers will likely choose to support your competitors. This is especially true in today’s market when businesses are making accountability a more critical part of their culture.
It is impossible to be accountable to your clients if you do not require employees to be responsible for their actions in their daily tasks. So, showing your customers that you are responsible has to start from the inside.
No matter what form of customer service you provide, the people you serve are affected by your accountability. In certain situations, it is even more important to be responsible for your actions. For example, the medical industry takes people’s lives into their hands, so it is vital for people in one of these professions to always do what they are supposed to do.
If a doctor does not perform every task correctly, it could cost a patient their life. That is why hospitals and medical offices typically have measures in place that hold each person working there responsible for a particular set of tasks.
How to Show Customers You Are Accountable
Showing customers you are accountable is more straightforward than many people think. When you take responsibility, you do your best to meet the expectations of the people you serve, but you also have to be willing to admit mistakes if you make them.
Take Detailed Notes
You will notice that in hospital rooms, there is typically a list of professionals that are taking care of the patient with phone numbers to each person. Hence, the patient can contact the correct party if they need assistance.
Doctors and nurses also keep charts with details about the patient’s medical history, medications administered, any procedures they underwent, and any other information someone would need to know before treating them.
By keeping detailed notes about everything, a hospital administrator knows who is responsible if something goes wrong. They also know what action was taken so that they can correct anything wrong. Each of these steps is crucial to keep patients healthy and safe.
Even if your business does not deal with the health of the people you serve, it is wise to keep notes that detail each interaction with the client. If you have details about who the client spoke with, it is easier to hold that person accountable if they do not provide the customer with the level of service expected.
Assign Specific Client Managers
Assigning client managers can help to keep people accountable for their job. When the client can reach the same person over the phone each time they call, they know who should take care of any issues they have.
It is not always possible to have direct contact with who the customer speaks to each time they call, but if you cannot provide this, you can at least assign someone who oversees any issues clients have. This person would be in charge of resolving any questions a customer has with any other employee.
Always Be Available to Answer Client Questions
Customers need their questions answered because they plan their lives around the services or products you provide. If you are unavailable, they will likely find a company that can answer their questions. So, if you are unable to answer their phone calls during business hours, at the very least, you need to give them a distinct idea of when you will be available to assist them.
If you give a client a timeline, make sure you stick to it. Making it easy for your employees to get answers to client questions is also essential. If an employee is unable to assist the client in a timely manner, it can be frustrating for the client and the customer service representative.
Listen to the Customers Concerns
If you are not willing to listen to your clients, it is impossible to be accountable. By listening and communicating properly, you can gain a better understanding of what went wrong and make changes in the future. When you take the time to get to know the issues the customer faced during their transaction, they gain respect for you.
Additionally, when you make a mistake, it is your responsibility to listen to the way that it affected your client. You should instruct each employee on the way to handle customer grievances appropriately. If you give the customer time to vent, then offer a resolution to their problem, they are more likely to overlook the mistake and continue their relationship with your business.
When a customer feels they have been wronged and they were not able to express that it leaves them frustrated. When customers feel like you do not value them enough to hear them, they are likely to look for a company that will give them this level of service and respect.
Give Updates When You Are Unable to Meet Expectations
Giving a phone call to update a customer goes a long way. If you are unable to meet a deadline or get a product to a customer on time, you need to call them and let them know what is going on. Giving as much information as you can as early as possible is crucial because it shows the client you care about them.
Taking accountability happens even before something goes wrong. If you do not address an issue until after it happens, it leaves customers feeling frustrated. They can make plans if you are unable to meet a deadline, but if you do not tell them what is going on, they are left scrambling to figure things out at the last minute.
Importance of Accountability in Your Personal Life
It is just as important to be accountable in your personal life as it is in your professional life. When you are responsible, people trust you. They know that if you can get things done on time, you will. When it is not feasible for you to do something, you will take care of it as soon as you can.
Being accountable shows other people that you expect the same from them. If you are not responsible for your actions, people often feel that it does not matter how they treat you. If you want people to give you their respect, you must do the same, and respect and accountability go hand in hand.
Children have more respect for their parents and other adults when those people do what they tell them they are going to do. When a child trusts their parents and sees that they are accountable for their actions, it shows the child they should do the same. It is difficult to tell a child the importance of doing their school work if you never make it to appointments on time.
Likewise, if you rent a home and do not pay your rent on time regularly, your landlord will likely not give you time to pay if you lose your job. If you are always on time and communicate any issues as soon as they arise, if there is a problem and they can wait, they are more likely to give you time to get the money together.
Other bill collectors are likely to do the same if you usually take accountability for paying your credit cards or utilities on time. However, if you are always late because you just do not plan to settle things on time or you use your money for other things, you will be stuck in a bad situation if you are ever in a position where you cannot pay.
Accountability also requires you to communicate openly as soon as something goes wrong. If you instead put your head in the sand and ignore your obligations, the outcome is sure to be much worse.
Some of the many reasons you should be accountable in your personal life include:
- Less stress
- More respect from others
- Better relationships
- Responsibility for the outcome of your life
How to Be Accountable In Your Personal Life
Anyone can develop an attitude of accountability in their life. If you want to be more responsible for your actions, there are some steps you can take and some skills you can develop that will help.
Everyone has a lot going on. You are not expected to be able to get everything done all the time. However, you do need to get the most important tasks done. So, you need to set clear priorities. By setting priorities, if you are not able to get to everything, at least you will have the most critical tasks out of the way.
Make To-Do Lists
If you have a lot of things to get done, it helps to make a list, so you do not forget important tasks. Doing this helps you to hold yourself accountable for each item you need to accomplish. If you do not complete all the tasks, you need to do on a specific day.
It is also a good idea to prioritize your tasks from the most important to the least important. Any items left on your list, you can move to the next day, but you should prioritize each day. Also, make sure you add any appointments you have to your list, so you schedule plenty of time to get to them on time.
If you are unable to do something you committed to, be open and honest about it. Let the people involved know you are running behind, and when they can expect you to finish. People respect you taking responsibility for your actions.
Admit Your Faults
When you do something wrong or are unsure of how to do something, admit it. You do not have to know the answers all the time. Letting other people know when you are wrong lets them know they can trust you. Admitting your faults to others does not show them that you are weak; it is a sign of strength, and it helps you be more relatable to the people in your life.
It also shows that you respect others enough to take accountability when you are incorrect. You should do this in every situation when you are wrong. You do not have to dwell on your mistake, but merely acknowledging the error will go far.
Ask for Help
When you need help meeting an obligation, ask for it. If you are running late for an appointment because you are stuck in traffic, ask if there is a better way for you to get there. That shows the person that you care about the commitment you made to them and that you are doing your best.
If you are stuck on doing everything yourself and you are unable to accomplish the task, it will not look good for you, and it will not benefit anyone else. So, it is better to ask for help when you need it rather than trying to figure things out yourself.
Take Care of Yourself
When you take care of yourself, you are better able to help others and accomplish everything you need to do. Taking care of yourself includes eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep, and going to the doctor regularly. If you take care of yourself physically and mentally, you can give your all to others.
No matter where you are or what position you are in, being accountable can help you live a more fulfilling life. It is not always easy to take responsibility for your actions, it means you have to admit your faults, but it helps others to gain respect for you.
So, by developing an attitude of accountability, you and everyone you come in contact with will be happier. You will also see benefits in your personal and professional life, and people will want to be around you because they are confident that you will do your best to get things done.
Others will be more understanding of your faults because they know you do your best in any circumstance. You also can hold others accountable for their actions when you set an example for them of what you expect.