Berger Leadership Blog

Aug 11, 2017

5 ways to foster accountability

Accountability 1

Fostering accountability among our coworkers and employees begins with clarity. You must be clear about the end game -“ and the steps it will take to get there.

While there is no easy prescription for fostering accountability, being unclear about expectations thwarts it from the start.

Peter Bregman writes in the Harvard Business Review that accountability is "responsibility to an outcome, not just a set of tasks. It's taking initiative with thoughtful, strategic follow-through." He adds that accountability is not "taking the blame when something goes wrong. It'™s not a confession."

He suggests five areas where you should aim for clarity to foster accountability in those around you. These areas include:

  1. Clear expectations. Make sure you are "crystal clear about what you expect," he writes.
  2. Clear capability. Does the person you want to hold accountable have all they need to meet your expectations (skills, resources, etc.)?
  3. Clear measurement. Provide clear, small milestones for someone on the way to meeting your main expectations.
  4. Clear feedback. Open and constant feedback is a must.
  5. Clear consequences. "If you've been clear in all of the above ways, you can be reasonably sure that you did what's necessary to support their performance," he writes.

Bregman reminds that these areas all work together to form a culture of accountability. If one is lacking, then accountability will be lacking as well.

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