"People think responsibility is hard to bear. It's not. I think that sometimes it is the absence of responsibility that is harder to bear. You have a great feeling of impotence."
--- Henry Kissinger
One of the most mishandled responsibilities of a business leader is the task of holding others accountable. We sometimes see it as simply, "My employee didn't complete the project, so I will discipline or fire him." Or, "This teammate is always late therefore she is a liability to the company." Neither of these phrases is an example of holding someone accountable, but merely pointing out flaws and reacting.
True accountability requires a great deal of patience, the ability to provide guidance, knowing your people, and the wisdom to apply it to each individual.
"No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible."
--- Stanislaw Lec
Having the patience to train and encourage each team member takes time, but it is worth the effort. Trained, encouraged employees can be held accountable. They can be held accountable to provide the service they were hired and trained to do, but they can, and should be held accountable for applying common sense to every situation.
By verbally stating it, and through all forms of written communication, (job descriptions, mission statements, etc.), you are letting employees know that they will be held accountable. This reinforcement helps to build a constructive, creative team of workers. Once employees know that they will be held accountable both by the boss and their peers, they then see themselves as responsible for their actions. Responsibility is the outcome of good accountability.
"He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else."
--- Benjamin Franklin
A good accountability program helps to eliminate excuses. A good accountability program provides resources for team members to use when they feel that they are lacking in a certain skill or if they feel they need to build a stronger knowledge base for their positions.
"Some favorite expressions of small children: 'It's not my fault. . . They made me do it. . . I forgot.' Some favorite expressions of adults: 'It's not my job. . . No one told me. . . It couldn't be helped.' True freedom begins and ends with personal accountability."
--- Dan Zadra
When an employer or business leader begins a good accountability program, the loyal, dedicated team players suddenly begin taking more and more responsibility for their work habits. They too begin a personal accountability program to not only perform well for the business, but to build up their own marketable skills.
Look at developing a good accountability program in your business. As will all things that work well for the masses of the company, make sure that you have someone or several people who can hold you accountable to be true to your mission statement and business goals.
"A duty dodged is like a debt unpaid; it is only deferred, and we must come back and settle the account at last."
--- Joseph Fort Newton
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"Caution: Please be aware that the balcony is not on ground level"
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"Please Neuter Your Pets… And Weird Friends and Relatives!"
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