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Today more than ever, employers want employees to own what they expect of them. That means acknowledging responsibility for their outcomes. And in return, employees expect their employers to demonstrate ethics and integrity in their actions. When both parties agree to accept these goals, the result becomes a culture of Personal Accountability.
The core of personal accountability is based on a person accepting responsibility for his own behavior and actions. A person may become accountable in business based on a certain position held or accepting a task delegated by a supervisor. But the real accountability happens when the person who is accountable also accepts the consequence—either positive or negative—for the outcome.
“The core of personal accountability is based on a person accepting responsibility for his own behavior and actions.”
Supervisors need to provide support in three areas to ensure an individual is held personally accountable: Skill, Environment, and Motivation. A skill is a task that you can demonstrate and repeat. It can take many forms but can be taught and mastered. The environment has to do with support; whether through resources, team members, or time an individual receives to help him achieve the goal. Motivation is personal and has to do with a person’s reason to act. It can either be the desire to receive or avoid a consequence.
To create a culture of Personal Accountability, first and foremost, consistently act in an ethical manner. One definition of ethics is “doing what is right when no one else is watching.” What we allow, we teach, so if you are acting unethically, don’t be surprised when others follow suit. One simple expression of integrity is doing what you say. This promotes a culture of trust.
Then, ask yourself the following three questions when someone is not being personally accountable:
- Do they have the skill to perform the task (have you seen them do it before)?
- Is the environment contributing to accomplishment (do they have the necessary resources)?
- Are they motivated to do the job (is there a benefit to be gained or a loss to be avoided), and is the motivator matched to the person?
Aligned with company goals, individual actions will result in greater achievement for all people involved. Moreover, acting the way you want others to act and removing barriers to each employee’s success should lead to a greater acceptance of responsibility and a culture where everyone accepts personal accountability.
More on accountability can be found here.
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