• Sara Mays

Why Accountability Matters?

Updated: Aug 7, 2018

A famous quote says "Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to results."

For many of our new clients, accountability has a negative connotation but it really shouldn't. Accountability is actually defined as “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.”

Simply said, when you make commitments, you own those commitments whether they are living the company values or the responsibilities of your job description.

It doesn’t matter if you are the owner of a small business, the CEO of a big business or a part-time employee. You accepted your role in the company, and you are accountable for all the responsibilities of that role.

Now, where it often gets complicated is when the owner or CEO fails to hold others accountable for their job responsibilities. They fail to see how the lack of accountability impacts the entire company as other employees have to step in and do additional work. This type of environment can lead to resentment and eventually the loss of valuable employees as well as revenue.

The other end of the accountability spectrum is when accountability is used as a power that can be wielded to embarrass subordinates. When a person is singled out in a meeting and questioned about a project status but similar questions aren't asked of their peers, that's the improper use of accountability.

When expectations are clear and goal achievement is celebrated and failures are addressed, accountability can be a powerful and effective leadership tool.

Let me share a story of how I first learned to appreciate accountability.

I played softball throughout my childhood and had many good coaches, but it wasn’t until I got to college that I was truly challenged. My coach saw untapped potential in me and held me accountable for growing my own skills, from practicing correctly to performing in a game. If I failed to perform in either situation, she would pull me aside and ask me a couple of questions that would refocus me on my responsibilities and my potential. She didn’t single me out. She understood that her role as the leader was to hold each person accountable for their responsibilities and help them improve their skills. It made us a better team, and yes, we won often and exceeded expectations.

She didn't enter the conversations with a negative mindset or angry. She wanted to help me and I knew what she expected of me and I worked tirelessly to meet those expectations.

Accountability should be seen as an opportunity to improve performance and outcomes. When roles and responsibilities are clearly defined goals and objectives become an on-going discussion. Wins are celebrated and losses become learning opportunities. That's true accountability and successful people and companies embrace it.

Take a step back and ask yourself, do we have a culture of accountability?

If you’re not sure, then you don't If you need help in implementing a culture of accountability that is care based not fear-based, we can help.

Sara Mays

Co-Founder & Principal Consultant

The Retail Coach Consultant Group - NY



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