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A Culture of Accountability

A Culture of Accountability

Do you ever find yourself using the expression, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself?”  If you do, perhaps you have not developed accountability in your team.

As small businesses grow and add team members, it is important for the entrepreneur or team leader to:

  1. Hire team members who share your level of excellence in executing tasks
  2. Create a culture of accountability with all team members and yourself 

Milton Eisenhower, President of Johns Hopkins University (1956-67 and 1971-72), when confronted with increasingly high enrollment to the university stated, “Our strength cannot be in numbers, it must be in excellence.” And so it is with young businesses that are starting to grow and bring on more team members. 

Often as a coach and leadership speaker, I see small businesses that have excellent customer services and standards start to slip because the core leadership does not have the right kind of culture in place to maintain the standards that attracted growth and success in the first place.

When businesses start to expand, there is a greater chance that the service levels or standards will start to spring a leak.  How can team leaders work to prevent or address this issue?  In my business coaching, I have found that the answer is building a culture of accountability.  In simple terms, it is the business or team leadership making sure that everyone does what is expected.

If you think that accountability is simply holding those working for you to some arbitrary standards that you as a leader do not uphold, you are wrong.  Accountability is a two way street.  Every day team leaders have to make the commitment to themselves to do their jobs competently, efficiently and completely before expecting the team to do the same. 

By committing every day to being accountable to the organization and the team, business leaders create a culture where accountability will develop and thrive.  As that accountability culture develops and grows, each team member will do one of two things:

  1. Make their own commitment to the team to perform in this environment
  2. Reject the environment of accountability and leave the team (leaving on their own or by being let go is another topic)


As a business coach, I think that there are five conditions that need to be present before a team leader can expect to achieve a culture of accountability:

  1. Team members must know exactly what task(s) they are supposed to perform and to what standards they are going to be held to
  2. The team member must be capable of performing that task
  3. They must understand and agree with the standards of the team leader and organization
  4. Team members must have the authority to execute the task
  5. Leaders and team members must understand what the accountability standards are for the team

By exercising personal leadership and committing daily to being accountable to yourself and your team, leaders can develop a culture that will enable them to attract and hold on to the high achievers that everyone wants on their team.

What are some other ways that you are growing a culture of accountability either in your personal life or on your team?  Please share with the Get2it community what methods you have that work to create a culture of accountability.



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