When we align individual goals to organizational goals, we connect employees to the organization’s purpose through their daily work. People contribute and are accountable when they understand their work matters and they’re making progress. Leaders who set aligned goals for individuals increase employee engagement, collective understanding, well-executed work, productivity and profitability.
Although our strategic direction or goals may come from the executive team, it’s everyone’s job to reach the goal. Organizations perform better when every employee understands how they fit in to the larger aims of the organization. When people are accountable, they act in the interest of the larger aims and needs of the organization. We want accountable people on our teams, willing to do what it takes to help the organization achieve success.
Accountability is different than responsibility, which is often thrust upon us, real accountability means we have intentionally accepted the position of being held responsible for something outside of our selves. We are accountable when we want to be accountable. Before our employees accept accountability, leaders need to draw clear connections for individuals to their goals. Accountability increases when opportunities for additional responsibilities are delegated to direct reports. Employees are inspired when they are trusted, challenged and empowered by their leader.
Impact During a Crisis
It was just really the most remarkable, inspiring day I’ve ever had with educators. All of our employees came in and they were problem solving, leading, they were working in small teams. They were accepting the communication, accepting the challenge… People saw everyone stepping up. So absolutely, the culture on that day was just this can-do culture of people just seeing problems, solving them, not dwelling on kind of the massive undertaking. Really accepting that challenge of ‘let’s write a beautiful story in a difficult time’. – Corey Golla, Superintendent of the School District of Menomonee Falls | EP 70: Cultivate a Can-Do Culture
When a crisis hits, leaders who develop accountability in their employees can depend on having a team of individuals committed to leading their own work. Accountable employees are willing to act as owners within an organization and are more likely to understand the need to be agile and act quickly in difficult times. The same employees are also more likely to speak up with ideas and solutions for unforeseen barriers and challenges because they act in a proactive manner to achieve their goals. Accountable individuals carry their own message and work across departments to achieve the best outcome.
To increase accountability in your organization, work with your direct reports to identify the right actions that will have the most impact for the team. When leaders are clear about what employees should prioritize, organizations are more likely to reach the results we are trying to achieve. As team members recognize how their work impacts one another, they’re more likely to improve the process and systems that impact their work and create greater efficiency. In times of crisis this can be invaluable because accountable employees recognize this work is greater than themselves.
When motivation waivers or obstacles persist, people who are accountable to their work will have the resilience to drive progress.
How are you empowering your employees to be accountable for their work? Are there any additional opportunities or responsibilities you can delegate to direct reports? What actions will you take to continue to monitor and increase accountability on your team?
EP 70: Cultivate a Can-Do Culture
with Corey Golla