One of the fundamental principles for success as a leader is providing your team with autonomy, and with that comes two levels of accountability which are necessary: accountability for yourself, and your team members' accountability. Being accountable across all scenarios is important for professional growth: it is a prerequisite to learn from things you have done well or horribly. It's unlikely that anyone reading this post disagrees that their team should be accountable, however many managers sabotage accountability on their teams. Here are four accountability killers you should be aware of and avoid.
Playing the blame game. This is obvious and I find it quite cringey. Instead of identifying a root cause and providing a solution, assigning blame is going to lead to finger pointing, escalating emotions and an all around derailment from productive conversation of why to a discussion about who.
Reprimanding instead of coaching. Except in serious and severe instances, accept that your team is going to make error that can be prevented. There are learning opportunities which are necessary to the employee's development; reprimanding may miss the opportunity and reduces trust to be open when mistakes are made.
You're not accountable. The best way to promote accountability is to be accountable. Lead by being open in your accountability for negative situations, but also sharing the praise when things go right.
Placing singular vs collective responsibility. This is a mindset shift which is important to adopt: you will win and lose as a team. This means that everyone plays a role in making a customer dissatisfied, just as much as a group of individual contributors make a customer successful. When a win is celebrated and only one contributor is recognized it is demoralizing to the group, which is dangerous for team health. In a negative scenario it demoralizes the individual but also corrodes responsibility of the larger team(s).
Has your company cultivated a culture of accountability? What element do you think is most important? Tell us in the comments!