RAB Insights

RAB Research Archive

Being Accountable

Last week during the RAB Leadership MasterClass, we had a spirited discussion about accountability. I learn so much from our Leadership MasterClass discussions, and I think the lessons are worthy of sharing. Accountability for most of us is like a four-letter word. It’s not something we generally look forward to and it often feels like a form of punishment or micromanagement – until we reframe it.

Would you rather be accountable or be held accountable? Which of those inspires good feelings, pride and confidence? When we are held accountable, we can feel out of control or restrained. If you desire to be accountable for contributing to the team’s success by completing important work and being appreciated, doesn’t that feel better?

In a recent article by Dr. Kammy Haynes, founder and president of Inside the Bottom Line on the website Talent Management/Chief Learning Officer, she describes the essential elements of accountability and building a culture of accountability. Today, we are going to focus on being accountable. Tomorrow, we’ll share the eight components of building a culture of accountability. According to Haynes, there are two sources of accountability, internal and external. This relates to the RAB teaching of determining your role priority versus task priority when it comes to time management. Chief Learning Officer shared an acronym for being accountable:

R - Responsible for completing the task or reaching the goal

O - Obligated to answer to someone (e.g., peer, boss, customer, stakeholder)

L - Liable for results (positive, negative, neutral) and being rewarded accordingly

E - Expected to account for, explain or justify their actions and decisions

In other words, we all have our ROLE. That role determines our level of accountability to ourselves and to the team. For us to be successful, we need clarity for each of the components of our role. For managers, this means ensuring that your team has the answers to these key questions:

What is their ROLE on the team?

How does their work contribute to the goals and the mission/purpose?

What are the outcomes they are expected to provide?

How and when they can collaborate?

How do individual priorities align with business objectives?

How much flexibility and autonomy do they have in achieving their goals?

How will mistakes be evaluated and become lessons in learning rather than finger-pointing?

Having a culture of accountability and a high-performance culture can reduce the time managers spend micromanaging and providing oversight and can give employees and team members ownership and control. With this approach, everyone can enjoy more job satisfaction and greater outcomes.

What’s not to like about that? Tomorrow, we share the Eight Components to Building a Culture of Accountability.

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB