One of the biggest challenges that leaders face in creating a culture of high performance is their ability to create an environment where their teams are accountable for their results that they have committed to achieve.

Creating a culture of accountability is exactly that — creating a culture. It is not easy and it starts with them. They are the custodians of the culture within their organisations. The culture is created one action at a time of the leader. So, if you want your teams to be accountable, you as a leader need to be accountable. So, what does being accountable mean?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “Accountable” as :

  • : required to explain actions or decisions to someone

  • : required to be responsible for something

When you want someone to be accountable, what you really mean is for them to be responsible for that action or result that you expect them to deliver.

This then implies that in order for them to be held accountable, they need to know exactly what it is that they are being held responsible for (clear expectations).

This also means that they should be capable of doing what is expected them to do or at least they have access to training/coaching/resources that they can use to be able to do what is expected of them.

Once they are capable of doing what is expected of them, leaders need to create a process to track progress. This can be as simple as a weekly report that the team sends out or a weekly/monthly/quarterly check-in meetings. These meetings or reports need to be able to answer the following questions:

  • What is the current status? Is the project or tasks on track (on budget/on time/any other measure)
    • If no, what steps is the team taking to get back on track?
    • Is there any risk to the final deliverable? If yes, what help does the team need to get back on track?
  • What are the next steps and/or milestones?
  • Can the leader do anything to help the team?

By being accountable to the team to provide all the support to them so they are able to deliver on their commitment, leaders can create a culture of accountability among their teams and hence create high-performing teams.