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Does Your Team Have An Accountability Problem?

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

This month there’s been a common theme in almost every conversation I've had. And the common thread is accountability. With statements like ‘I just want my leaders to be more accountable’, to ‘it’s been really hard to find people who can be held accountable’. To ‘we have a real accountability problem, so one is sticking to what they say they’re going to do.’.

Let’s first start with the definition of Accountability;

Accountability is defined as an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions. In the workplace and in team work, being accountable is a paramount quality, linked with trust, reliability and responsibility.

Seems simple enough. Most people understand accountability and why it’s important. Why then, is there such a problem with people being accountable, and leaders upholding accountability?

Rarely in my experience are people intentionally not accountable. Usually it comes down to lack of understanding. Whether that be understanding of expectations, or what is required as part of their role. Limited resources, and unrealistic timelines. And really what that comes down to, is a lack of effective communication.

The question I have for you and your team:

Is personal accountability a core and guiding value in your part of the business?

Accountability builds trust.

We know in this day and age that trust is a huge factor in your ability to lead, and for your leaders to be able to lead.

When it comes to building a culture of accountability in your team and part of the business;

» Do you want to get better? If you really want to get better, then accountability makes everyone and everything better, from efficiencies, to culture, to identifying risks, psychological safety and well-being.

» No one does better without accountability than with it.

» Everyone has at least one area that they are not disciplined in (I know, it’s a tough pill to swallow!

» When we have accountability, we move from intentions to actions. This is key, most people want to do the right thing (intention), sometimes their actions don’t meet those expectations.

» Accountability is the bridge between what you intend to do and what you actually do. That’s why it matters.

» The moment you become accountable to yourself and/or to someone else, you start to do better.

In the workplace there are three different types of accountability.

1. Personal Accountability:

a. Meeting and exceeding your own goals

2. Team Accountability

a. You’re accountable not only to yourself, but also your team

b. Team members need to be able to count on each other when it counts

c. It’s important to meet, and sometimes even exceed the expectations of your team members

3. Leadership Accountability

a. Having the responsibility of helping your team stay accountable to themselves and their team members

b. Letting go of blame (see Brene Brown’s short clip here)

c. When you expect from others, you get results

d. Your leadership reputation can be impacted by your accountability (or lack of)

Key indicators of People Who are Not Accountable

1. They make excuses

My ballet teacher used to say “if you want to do it, you’ll find a way, if not, you’ll find an excuse.”

a. Lots of people are good at making excuses

2. They become victims

“Some people love being victims, because they love being able to blame someone else."

“As a leader, the ultimate responsibility falls to you."

a. They choose ease over difficulty and discomfort

3. They are more into the optics and title of leaders

hip rather than the substance and impact

a. They go for quick fixes rather than solutions

Key traits of Accountable People

1. They are consistent

>>. Consistency takes more than ability and talent––it takes following through on what they say they will do or have committed to.

>>. As John Maxwell says “Consistency compounds”

2. They have credibility

» Leadership myth: once credibility is earned, it’s completed

» Leadership truth: credibility has to stay consistent

3. They increase their personal performance, and they increase the performance of the people around them

>> They seek feedback even when things go right.

>> They reflect and learn when things go wrong

  1. Are you confident about your leaders' leadership abilities?

  2. Do you leaders lead in a healthy and rewarding way that keeps your people “present and productive.”

  3. Do your leaders have an understanding of Emotional Intelligence, so they can lead people even in complex and complicated circumstances?

  4. Do your leaders do their best to make rational – not emotional – decisions?

  5. Do your leaders understand and accept their leadership responsibilities?

  6. Do your leaders know where the business is going, and understand where they fit in,

  7. Are your leaders determined to lead others at the highest level?

  8. As a leader, do they feel “physically, mentally and emotionally” fit to lead?

If your team could do with building their accountability capability, book in a time to speak with Ally today.


Who is Ally Nitschke

Ally is a Leadership Expert, Speaker and Author. Obsessed with courage, and flexing your courage muscle, Ally leaders and partners with organisations to build confidence, and improve communication to truly connect and influence teams. Ally typically speaks at conferences and runs transformational programs and workshops. In her spare time, you'll find her at the beach with her husband and four young children.


If you are interested in having Ally speak at an upcoming event or would like more information about Ally's Programs please book a call.

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