Over the last week, many people have discussed with me the need for accountability. This might be because the year is still fresh and people know that accountability is necessary to be successful. Whatever the reason, people seem to be looking for guidance on how to hold themselves accountable and how to hold others accountable. This week, I thought I’d share some thoughts on accountability to help you become more successful in business and in life for 2019!
We all know that accountability is an important factor to success. Accountability is typically introduced through school. We were held accountable for doing our homework, and if we didn’t do it there was typically some form of consequence. As we move into adulthood, we enter the workforce and there is some accountability there to perform to a certain standard, or lose our job.
I have also found that as people enter adulthood, some people struggle with accountability. Either with holding themselves accountable, or even holding others accountable. Being accountable requires discipline, which can be a struggle for some people. This article is going to explore three aspects of accountability and how YOU can become more successful.
The first person you have to be accountable to is yourself. Now this is probably the hardest of the three categories. I know, from my own experience, once I was on my own certain aspects of accountability went out the window. I no longer had anyone telling me when to come home, when to get up or what to eat. Over time, I had to develop a system of holding myself accountable because the consequences were catching up to me.
Holding yourself accountable requires self-discipline and integrity. You have to be able to do the right thing, even if nobody is watching. This is the most important aspect of accountability and makes it possible to hold others accountable. This is leading by example. You will struggle to hold others accountable, if they see that you cannot hold yourself accountable. To be successful create a system of holding yourself accountable. Maybe an accountability partner, or support group can be beneficial. No matter what you choose to do to hold yourself accountable, DO NOT LET YOURSELF OFF THE HOOK when you slip.
To Your Company
Make a habit of accountability at your company. This applies to supervisors, peers and direct reports. You’d be surprised how much people actually appreciate being held accountable, and how much more you’ll be respected. In the workplace, this can be as simple as a follow up. When you assign tasks to direct reports, follow up to make sure they are done, and done to the level you expect.
When working with peers, follow the same advice. If you need support from your marketing department, or the leader of another team, be sure to follow up. When your boss promises she’ll get you the help you need, follow up with her. I realize holding your boss accountable might take a little political consideration, but if she is honest, she’ll appreciate the accountability. Afterall she expects it from you, right?
By holding people accountable for what they say, you not only help improve productivity, you also prove that what you asked for is important. Another way to look at it. If you asked someone that worked for you to provide a report on Monday, and you don’t read it, why did you ask for it? Sooner or later, it’ll give the impression to your team that the work isn’t important. If you offer support to someone and don’t follow through their trust in you will begin to erode.
To Your Customers
It doesn’t matter if you are in retail or provide a service, you have to be accountable to your customers and clients. This doesn’t mean the customer is always right, although you shouldn’t let them know that. This doesn’t mean you give the client everything they want. It DOES mean that you do what you say and say what you do. Last week I talked about the importance of your companies image and reputation. Being accountable to your clients means saying what you do and doing what you say.
Your customers come to you to fill a specific need or want. They also come with a certain level of expectations. Being accountable to your customers means meeting (or exceeding) those expectations each and every time you do business. Mistakes cannot always be avoided, it happens, but when mistakes do happen you take every reasonable (and sometimes unreasonable) action necessary to regain that trust. Just like with being accountable to your company, once you lose the trust you may never have an opportunity to regain that trust
This Week’s Challenge
Develop a plan to focus on these three areas of accountability. Even if you already think you are focusing on accountability, take time to identify ways you can become even more effective. Adding accountability to your relationships with yourself, your company, and your customers will help your and your business grow.
If you would like to discuss more ways to help your business grow or if you feel you have a specific problem that needs to be addressed, please reach out to me.