One of the most damaging events your organization can go though is the blame game. A daily task is mishandled, accounts are prepaid in error, or a major project falls apart because of ‘a mistake’. If people don’t feel responsible, or simply didn’t properly understand their roles and duties, you could find that the blame game escalates rapidly. This affects morale, performance, and the ability to promote the next project to an engaged audience.
In this article I’ll introduce you to the concept of accountability and discuss why it’s a good thing within the workplace. You’ll also learn how accountability team building exercises can help you in the process of implementing accountability.
What is accountability?
In its simplest definition, accountability is having the responsibility for a specific outcome. The CEO is accountable for the organization reaching its strategic goals. A manager is accountable for his team’s performance. By making this accountability a joint one with their team, a manager can motivate, encourage, and engage their employees more effectively.
The negative side of accountability
Accountability is one of those words that conjure up negative emotions. When someone has to be found accountable, it’s usually associated with a failure or, perhaps, with punishing the person (or team) responsible for the failure.
While poor performance shouldn’t be tolerated, if you only use accountability negatively you will miss out on its many positive outcomes. Instead of your people fearing accountability, wouldn’t it be better to concentrate on the positive goals and expectations of individual and team responsibility?
In a nutshell, accountability is essential for success, but too often it is neglected among leadership tools and resources because of its negative connotations.
What are the positives of accountability?
When your employees view personal accountability as a tool to help meet their own goals and expectations, you’ll experience a number of positive outcomes, including:
- Improved performance
- Higher levels of employee engagement
- Increased commitment and productivity
- Greater participation in finding innovative solutions
- Higher levels of job satisfaction and decreasing costs of staff turnover
In addition, team building becomes easier as you build trust, commitment, and accountability as a group.
Strategizing activities that build trust for the workplace
At the heart of positive accountability in the workplace we find managers that employ effective performance management techniques. For example, giving feedback effectively has the setting of expectations, duties, and goals as a core component.
For a truly positive environment that encourages the acceptance of joint responsibility, you’ll need to go further and:
- set clear responsibilities and challenging goals;
- offer coaching and support proactively;
- monitor, assess, and evaluate performance against targets, feeding back regularly; and
- recognize achievement and outperformance.
Helping your team take ownership
Joint accountability encourages every member of a team to pull together. This is why team building exercises work in the longer term. They encourage maximum participation through a structured approach:
- Give the team a task to complete
- Provide basic parameters
- Let the team work together to achieve the goal set
As the accountability exercise develops, you should find that individuals discover more about their own strengths and weaknesses as well as the strengths and weaknesses of others. However, something transformative happens: they start pulling together, working out solutions, and helping each other to develop the task. They work as a team, and success is seen as a joint success.
The most effective of activities that build trust among team members are those where the team can influence the metrics of success. These exercises encourage calculated risk-taking, with the team learning that sometimes one backward step leads to two forward.
What team building exercises have other organizations employed successfully? For more information, and to discover how Team Building and Change Agent Bootcamp programs will help to encourage employee engagement, contact Forward Focus today.