5 Simple Tips On Holding Your People and Teams Accountable in 2023
Entrepreneurs and business leaders consistently tell us that managing accountability is one of their most difficult tasks.
Accountability and delegation are really two sides of the same coin. Great leaders know how and when to delegate responsibility. They also know how to hold their people and teams accountable for their responsibilities.
This post will discuss the five basics of objectively managing accountability. Here’s what you’ll learn:
- What is accountability and why is it important?
- What are the four C’s of accountability?
- How can measurable accountability help you be a better leader?
- What is the purpose of an Accountability Chart?
- How can optimized accountability help you and your team function as better leaders?
According to Merriam-Webster, accountability is manifested by “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.” Accountable team members take personal responsibility for their workplace behavior, and an accountable organization accepts responsibility for how it treats its workers.
It can be a challenge to develop a culture that holds everyone in the organization—from its executive team to its freelancers—accountable for working in common cause to meet the company’s goals.
Now let’s peel back the onion a bit more.
What is Accountability and Why is it important?
If personal accountability is “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions,” business accountability is accepting responsibility for your business function and duties.
When any employee accepts the responsibility of leadership, at any level of an organization, they have accepted the accountability that comes with it. The problem arises when accountability is not clearly defined and measurable.
Business owners, executives, and leaders can’t expect employees and teams to be accountable without crystal clear goals, KPIs, and boundaries.
So how do you set those goals and boundaries? Let’s look at the basics.
What are the four C’s of accountability?
One simple prescription to develop a culture of leadership responsibility is to understand and implement the four C’s of accountability:
Clearly communicated goals are essential to your success. When you understand your goals, you can communicate them to your leadership team.
It’s also important to get buy-in from your team and assurance that they fully understand their objectives and their responsibility to meet their goals. If there’s not complete acceptance and a comprehensive understanding of what’s at stake, you need to do some refining.
Once leadership is on the same page with goals, it will take a mutual commitment to achieve them. Both sides of the commitment equation must make a realistic, informed dedication of their time and all appropriate resources that it will take to reach the objective.
When an informed consensus is reached, communications are crucial to success.
Leaders need frequent comments and communications concerning goals and objectives, especially when it looks like they might be slipping. Remember, there is always the potential of missing goals. The important thing to remember is to constantly communicate progress, obstacles, and process changes along the way.
To avoid surprises, commitment and communications must always be open, explicit, and bidirectional.
Great leaders also recognize the need for consistent mentoring and coaching of their team members—and excellence in leadership comes from excellent leadership coaching. You’ll find that leadership mentoring and coaching will have a cascading positive effect on your organization.
It starts at the top and permeates the entire organization to create a positive culture.
So how can measurable accountability help you and your team become better leaders?
At Fifth Ascent, we use an excellent EOS tool called the Accountability Chart, or AC, to help our clients and their leadership teams reach their ultimate potential.
An Accountability Chart will help you identify all of the business-critical areas of functionality in your business, then you can fill them with the right leaders, including yourself. We leverage the Predictive Index as the primary tool to evaluate, recruit, and build exceptional leadership teams.
Building an AC will also help you identify and address any potential weak points in your business strategy. In a nutshell, your AC defines all of your essential business functions and who owns each of these crucial functions.
Once you have the structure of your business defined as specific functional areas, you can begin to intelligently delegate responsibilities and create measurable accountability. Now you can step back to see the larger picture.
The bottom line is titles and organization charts create egos, unhealthy competition, envy, confusion, and ambiguity. And you don’t want to leave your functional organizational leadership strategy up for interpretation.
Defining the essential functional areas of your business on an Accountability Chart, instead of using nebulous titles, allows you and your entire team to visualize all critical roles and the responsible leaders who own them.
You’ll see that this type of business structure, as opposed to traditional org charts, makes it much easier for leaders to excel at their goals and maintain loyalty from their teams.
Now let’s look a little closer at the AC.
What is the purpose of an EOS Accountability Chart?
An accountability chart identifies the owners of an organization’s essential functions along with their responsibilities.
We encourage our clients to eliminate org charts and titles and create accountability charts instead. The AC comprises structure, functions, and leaders instead of titles.
Let’s look at a simple example.
Typically, three to seven core functions are foundational to any business, depending on its size and scope. A small landscaping company might have field operations, sales, accounting, and an overarching business operations function.
It’s possible and even probable that the same person will fill multiple seats at some point in the life of the business. And at the top of all the functional business units is a leader, called an integrator, responsible for the seamless operation of all units in unison.
Once you define your core functional business areas and leaders in an accountability chart, responsibilities will begin to self-delineate.
And boundaries between responsibilities and business functionality will naturally emerge.
To assess each leader’s performance, including your own, you’ll develop measurable metrics called key performance indicators, or KPIs.
Business functionality boundaries will also facilitate delegation and organic team growth. Your functional business unit leaders will begin approaching and exceeding their time capacities to fulfill their responsibility obligations as the business grows.
So they will naturally seek to delegate pieces of their responsibility domains and to grow their teams organically and in parallel with adjusted KPIs.
Now, you’re filling leadership seats with qualified people who are accountable to the organization and their teams. They have clear goals, objectives, and KPIs to measure performance.
The AC will take egos and “title envy” out of the leadership picture. It will also help create space for delegation and clarity of objectives.
So how can optimized accountability help you and your team function as better leaders?
Leadership has many dimensions, and there are many different types of leaders and leadership styles. Let’s find out what your company leadership needs are together, and build a business strategy around them.
What’s the next step?
Our leadership coaching programs might be just what you need to jumpstart your business’s growth process. Growth starts with delegating operational responsibilities to the team you trust.
And remember, delegation and accountability are two sides of the same coin.
We help companies like yours scale their operations to support double-digit growth rates. We can help you build a high-performing leadership team through laser-focused alignment on direction, trusted delegation, measurable accountability, and open communications that foster innovation and informed decision-making.
Our passion is helping teams discover their extraordinary so they can achieve extraordinary things.
Call us at 415.991.4961 or get in touch with our team online today to schedule a complimentary consultation.