Do you suffer from accountability deficit disorder?

Many leaders I talk with express their frustration with the lack of accountability in their organizations. Whether you’re part of a team or whether you’re a solo-prenuer, accountability is crucial to moving work forward.

The number one thing we can do is keep ourselves accountable.

This means keeping commitments, taking responsibility and following through with what we say we’re going to do. It means we don’t get to use the excuse that someone or something else is holding us back.

If you’ve felt challenged by not moving projects forward as much as you’d like, here are 3 things you can do to improve accountability.

3 tips to more accountability

Hold yourself accountable to hold others accountable. No one enjoys holding others accountable. When a team member or vendor doesn’t deliver a document by an agreed upon date, you might be inclined to let it slide.

Why? Because it’s too uncomfortable to confront the issue directly. Next time, Instead of letting it slide you might say, “we agreed that the document would be delivered by today at 3 p.m. I would like to make it a practice to for all of us on the team to adhere to our commitments. Can we agree on this?”

As obvious as it sounds, it’s a conversation that often gets swept under the carpet. And you’ll be blown away at how powerful the impact will be.

Create your own “Standards of Behavior.” It’s all too easy to let our own accountability slide, especially if we’re in an environment where accountability isn’t adhered to by those around us. Or maybe we’re a sole business owner with no external pressure to stick to the plan.

It’s up to you to take responsibly for your own accountability. Create a list of what you will require of yourself. Post it nearby. Read it daily.

For example, your list might include, “I will keep verbal commitments. I will complete my work by agreed upon due dates. When my work is dependent upon someone else, I will have a direct conversation with that team member about the importance of project timelines.”

This is your own personal credo. You know what inspires you. So use language that stirs you deep inside.

Celebrate successes. Whether it’s for yourself or for a team, celebrate moments when due dates are met and projects are completed. Positive reward is one of the best motivators to continue desired behavior.

Your brain will start to connect pleasure with the empowered choices you make around accountability.

Here’s an additional tool to help you stay focused on track. You’ll be able to anticipate obstacles before they come up and solve them well in advance.


6 replies
  1. Kyle
    Kyle says:

    Wow!! #1 is really challenging, but it can definitely reinforce collective and individual accountability!

    #3 is really important too – as we associate accountability with success and with positive outcomes, we create a virtuous cycle! The positive connection is so crucial.

    Awesome stuff, Marianne!

    • Marianne
      Marianne says:

      Thanks Kyle for your fantastic insights! Yes, I find #1 is a key issue among organizations. It’s just so much easier to let things slide, but we pay a price in the end.

  2. Edwin Soler
    Edwin Soler says:

    Hi Marianne, I think #3 is SO IMPORTANT. We tend to only celebrate the BIG wins when in fact they are simply a string of small wins put together. So we need to celebrate more. I think this will make us happier and more productive.

    • Marianne Renner
      Marianne Renner says:

      So true Edwin. When we celebrate our successes, our brain goes to work looking for more ways to be successful. It definitely contributes to our sense of well-being.

  3. Denise Miller
    Denise Miller says:

    Yes it is very interesting that companies have you create SWOT goals when it is time for review but never have meetings to check in with the team or individual during the year. Companies are just not focused on the process just the outcome. That is why an accountability partner or coach is so important. – Thank you Marianne!

    • Marianne Renner
      Marianne Renner says:

      Denise, you are so welcome. Yes, the best process is to have annual goal meetings supported by monthly or quarterly check-ins. A coach can be a valuable asset in that area.


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