What is Accountability?


One of the most elusive concepts in management is accountability. In leadership roles, accountability is the acknowledgment and assumption of responsibility for actions within the scope of a role or position, encompassing the obligation to report, and be answerable for resulting consequences.

So what does this really mean? A senior manager cannot delegate responsibility, he can only delegate authority to a subordinate and then hold that subordinate accountable for due performance. One of the biggest mistakes managers can make is to continuously frustrate their employees by not holding them accountable. Believe it or not, it can frustrate your employees as much as it does you. Accountability is the key to achieving results and helping identify the opportunities in your organization. Holding employees accountable helps them to know the satisfaction of achieving a goal and performing to a standard.

There are five basic requirements for creating accountability. You need to ensure you have:

– Understood Goals – the subordinate must understand what the they and their team are trying to achieve;

– Buy in – subordinates must believe in the goal and be a part of the success;

– Benchmarks and a Quantifiable Result – subordinates need milestones and a result that can be measured;

– Two-way Feedback – feedback from the supervisor to the subordinate and from the subordinate to the supervisor;

– Evaluation – once a goal is accomplished, celebrate the success. Conversely, do not shy away from criticism if performance falls short.

To be successful, the manager must also hold himself accountable to following through with accountability. One of the biggest failures is to start the process and not follow through with it. This causes the subordinate to lose respect for the process and to question a supervisor’s commitment, which can undermine the entire organization. Once accountability becomes a part of your management style, you will see improved results and more satisfied employees.


Source by Michael Davel Anderson