Building a Culture of Accountability

Building a Culture of AccountabilitySuccessful corporate teams cannot exist without a certain level of accountability. How can you build a culture of accountability? While guaranteed performance and work accountability go hand-in-hand, accountability begins with the understanding of the basics and how we move ahead with concepts, verbal communications, and activities gaining a full understanding of our role in the organization. For companies doing project work for a living, successful project management is not only the foremost requirement, but also the prime factor that drives the bottom line of the organization. Of course software and systems can aid in better and more profitable projects, but, if a project includes personnel who are not accountable for their work, it could be headed in the wrong direction from the very beginning.

Gaps in accountability

Accountability is one of the key contributors in converting business strategies into practicality, which is why it plays a pivotal role in determining the success of a project. In the course of a project, it’s all too common to experience disagreements and stressful situations where differences in ideas and points of view could lead to one person being side-lined or someone else being burdened will all the work. Clearly, these are gaps in accountability which can be filled with the help of two essential elements – defining roles and building relationships based on respect and trust. Let’s talk about those for a minute.

Defining roles – the first step towards accountability

As the first step toward accountability, it’s important to designate particular tasks to individuals. This works because only after knowing their responsibilities, is it possible for team members to stay accountable for their share of job. Before the commencement of a project, the tasks for every participant must be clearly defined to suite his or her capabilities and interests. This not only helps clear confusion in terms of sharing of responsibilities, but also keeps the project transparent at all levels so that everyone in the picture understands it well. This is how you create a team in the truest sense of the term.

Build relationships – make people accountable for their roles

Regular team meetings are a great way to to build trust and team spirit, which are important elements of successful projects. As part of your project management system, make sure you have sessions for discussing feedback, brainstorming ideas, and sharing input with one another, all of which will help create a strong bond between team members. Also, be sure to allow them the opportunity to volunteer for special tasks and projects and give them opportunities to take initiatives. These are ways to build trust, which eventually leads to accountability. As part of this process, it’s important that you steer clear of negative behavior such as favoritism, prejudice, or bias which might make some individuals feel excluded or being treated unfairly.

A project must always have an achievable deadline

Once the scope of your project is well defined and all of your team members understand their individual roles, it’s the time to set the deadline. Set and clearly communicate to all members of the team the exact date and time when tasks are expected to be completed and reported back. And if it’s a multi-level project that might run over a period of few weeks or even months, instead of putting up long deadline, break the project into actionable segments with mutually agreed-upon check levels to review progress regularly. This not only gives your team the ability to get a grip on the progress of the project as it moves through the organization, but it also prevents any last-minute rush when the deadline is round the corner. A well-defined deadline motivates people to stay accountable to their roles and makes way for successful outcomes.

A compliment goes a long way

The last thing to remember when it comes to building a culture of accountability and developing strong teams is that there’s no such thing as too much encouragement when it comes to your employees. And it’s about more than just a bonus at the end of a project or the end of the year. Praise and encouragement help spur your team to work harder and do better, and it’s really pretty easy to make sure you’re around with encouraging words and feedback as the project progresses. For your team, it will make all the difference in the world.

So, if you want to make every project a success story, think about accountability and trust and what you can do to build and develop this in your team and within your organization.

Are your employees accountable for their work? What steps are you taking to make them feel accountable? We would love to hear your success stories.

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