Accountability Issues In The Workplace | 4 mins read

Navigating Accountability Issues in the Workplace

navigating accountability issues in the workplace
Lauren Christiansen

By Lauren Christiansen

Effective leaders know that taking responsibility is a key requirement to be successful. Shifting the blame onto someone else results in defensive behavior, frustration, and more unresolved problems.

While having the humility needed to take personal responsibility is difficult, it is the only way to resolve workplace bottlenecks that impact employee engagement and long term profit.

Leaders must pinpoint the problem areas, revamp their attitudes, and be courageous enough to implement changes. By doing so, a company with numerous accountability issues can become a profitable enterprise with a strong work culture.

  • Focused on short and long term goals
  • Confidence in the decisions on makes
  • Transparent about expectations and beliefs
  • Integrity in business practices
  • Patient with others
  • Innovative and willing to take risks

How Accountability Issues Hold Businesses Back

Workplace accountability is a growing concern, particularly as companies employ more remote workers. Though it's impossible to ensure everyone is high performing and on-time every day, certain businesses are more successful at holding people accountable than others.

Organizations with accountability problems tend to have ineffective leadership teams. Poor practices and tactics from the top can destroy workplace culture, decrease productivity, and hurt profits. Before accountability concerns become a crisis, management must make systemic changes that hold others accountable for their actions.

Here are the top signs of poor accountability along with best practices to make accountability a priority.

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1. Low Morale

Poor employee morale typically stems from ineffective internal communication practices. Too often, workers don't know whether they are performing their jobs correctly because management has failed to provide the proper feedback.

Supervisors can fix poor morale by implementing an effective IC strategy that uses all communication channels to inform and connect employees. Creating a safe space or forum for workers to give feedback can also help pinpoint which problems are causing poor morale. Regular check-ins and meetings are other solutions that facilitate workplace connectivity.

2. Frequent Shifts in Priorities

Too often, management changes their requirements and priorities without properly informing employees. A worker can spend hours on a project just to be told that it is no longer necessary. This causes employees to disconnect from their jobs and feel like nothing they do matters. It destroys morale and contributes to a high turnover rate, which impacts profit and costs.

Organizations can minimize this by providing a direct report that explains exactly what is expected of workers at all times. Though leaders may have to shift priorities at times, it should not be a regular, everyday occurrence. By optimizing the alignment between leadership needs with business needs, there won't be frequent changes that impact morale.

3. Decreased Engagement

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If employees are uninterested in their work and regularly fail to meet clear expectations, the company must reiterate its mission and values. Employees must see how their work positively impacts the company and helps to achieve its goals.

The leadership team must work to optimize this connection by informing employees how their work makes a difference. This should also be done during the onboarding process to ensure new hires understand the value they bring to the company.

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4. Poor Execution

If the company fails to meet its objectives, there is probably an accountability issue. Organizations must bridge gaps between goals and outcomes by implementing effective accountability practices.

Rather than punishing employees indiscriminately, the leadership team should encourage team members, recognize their strengths, and reinforce the importance of hitting targets. By implementing a good IC strategy that emphasizes engagement and connectivity, the company can return to meeting key targets.

5. Little to Zero Trust

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Poor trust between colleagues and management leads to defensive behavior and inefficient attitudes across the organization. When the leadership team fails to deliver on their promises, employees see a double standard. They don't appreciate being told to do one thing while management isn't held to the same standard.

Leadership teams must be good role models to enforce workplace accountability and ensure targets are met. Furthermore, recognizing workers for their achievements builds relationships and trust, which assists in bridging the divide between workplace hierarchies.

6. Low Retention Rates

High turnover rates are the result of poor communication and unclear performance objectives. Turnover also occurs when employees are distrustful of management and don't think their feedback is taken seriously.

Management must resolve low retention rates by taking ownership of the problem, revamping strategies, envisioning desired outcomes, and acting on solutions. While it's impossible to ensure every employee's happiness, there are several steps management can take to decrease chronically low morale.

  • The average yearly turnover rate is 19%
  • 63% of CFOs have reported an increase in turnover rates over the past few years
  • Companies with low turnover rates bring in 4 times higher profits
  • On average, it takes an employee 2 years to become fully productive in a new role

Key Takeaways

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In conclusion, here are the best practices for resolving team accountability issues in the workplace

  • Low engagement and morale can be resolved by optimizing connectivity and ensuring workers are informed of business goals, objectives, and values. Poorly communicated or shifting priorities must stop so employees know exactly what is expected of them.
  • Decreased engagement is a result of workers not seeing the purpose in performing their work. The leadership team must demonstrate how each job helps the company meet its needs and goals.
  • When the company fails to meet its objectives, it is suffering from poor execution. Rather than punishing poor performers across the board, leaders must employ positive accountability to increase engagement and productivity.
  • Low trust between managers and employees leads to poor team accountability. Low retention rates are a result of low engagement and morale. Next steps require taking ownership of the problem, creating new engagement strategies, and acting on solutions.

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