Accountability is the willingness to accept responsibility for one's actions or behavior. Normally, both private and public enterprises find it necessary to apply accountability to the perspective of oversight. In this regard, employees are held responsible for successfully completing the task or for the failure to do so. Entities must also be answerable for any deviations from their stated values and goals and are required to compile and document factors that quantify their profitability, efficiency, and adherence to the budget. Accountability cannot be delegated, and it starts with everyone in an organization. This means that it is an aspect of collective responsibility that requires everyone to be personally answerable for his/her actions and results. Leadership defines culture, and if the management wants to create a culture of responsibility, then it has to model the recommended behaviors that are in line with the short-term and long-term goals of the enterprise. The best way to get people accountable is to set them up to be successful. In most companies, accountability comes as part of the job description.
Accountability is an important leadership principle because it builds trust, improves performance, inspires confidence, and promotes ownership. An accountable individual is one who is willing to make commitments and be responsible for his/her actions. It is critical that the foundation of most entities is built on integrity and accountability. Since leaders are entrusted to provide employees with a sense of empowerment and belonging, they are likely to make amends especially when the trust is broken, and this will allow workers not to fear retribution for their honest opinion or ideas. Similarly, accountable leaders will allow employees to exercise autonomy with the expectation that they will feel more invested in the entity and will perform better, efficiently, and creatively. In most organizations, some employees are likely to engage in ineffective behaviors. For the organizations which are committed to building a culture of accountability, there is the need to put the right people on the right jobs and to get rid of the ineffective behaviors that are not in line with the company's mission. Employees always value their work especially when they are made accountable for their actions. Through corrective actions and positive feedback, they will learn that their behaviors and actions have an impact on them.
When done in the right way, accountability can inspire confidence. The key is to give people the freedom to decide and challenge them to think of better solutions as a team. Employees are more likely to step up and do their best when they know the management can actually listen and engage them at all levels. In as much as there is the need to build a culture of accountability from the start, the goal of the management or any leader is not to punish or look for mistakes and errors. Since leaders serve as the foundation of the company, they should seek to open up multiple feedback mechanisms, improve on solutions, and reward productive behavior.
Accountability breeds excellence. It is the best way to encourage positive business outcomes while correcting performance that does not live up to the expectations. The focus should be on inclusive decision-making. When people operate more from a motivational or influenced-based perspective, they will draw their ideas and energy in and initiate programs which are friendly and are in line with what the entity believes. It is through accountability that the entity can easily meet its goals and objectives. Since the mission defines what the company does for it employees, customers, and its owners, an accountable manager will find it prudent to define the company's goals, ethics, culture, and norms for decision-making based on the mission statement.
Furthermore, accountability is vital in good governance and is viewed in terms of democratic control, integrity operations, and terms of performance. In good governance, the basic features of accountability can be summarized in terms of planning, directing, supervision, control of activities, recording of transactions, fiscal disposal, and auditing. Through accountability, one can easily evaluate the effectiveness of public officials, and this will ensure that they perform to their full potential. In a democracy, accountability derives its legitimacy from the people. It is at the heart of every government and is the best way to keep public servants tuned to the right perspectives. Appointed officials are directly accountable to the executive branch of the government. They are responsible for what they do especially in the context of implementing certain laws or regulations.
Moreover, accountability tends to help create better policies and stop the abuse of power in the sense that the more the citizens know about the government actions, the better judgment they can make about public policy. In Parliamentary systems, standards of responsibility are established through oversight by a number of entities including the opposition political parties, an independent judiciary, free press, and public commissions. Accountability within government is a measure that is normally used to control abuse of power by the elected government representatives.
When public officials rely on experts and skilled employees to provide appropriate solutions for complex problems, the officials are practicing professional accountability. However, when they are more exposed to internationally-recognized professional standards, they become more grounded in reality. A good network of people will keep a manager, or an employee focused on what is important. When looking for accountability partners, it is prudent to focus on people who are not only encouraging but also challenging. Being accountable is all about acknowledging that your actions affect other people's abilities to accomplish their goals. In a workplace, to avoid common mistakes and to improve overall productivity and performance, the management has to acknowledge what is on the line for the team and using it to motivate workers to achieve their goals. The ability to accomplish things in an organization will directly affect employees' abilities to meet their goals as well. If the management losses the accountability of high-valued items, the organization may risk the threat of having the items stolen.
Leaders or managers acting with integrity are more likely to project a sense of stability to workers. This is critical for employee retention. When the organization fails to provide employees with stability through integrity and accountability, it is highly possible that unstable work environment and a culture of fear will be created. The unstable environment does not encourage professional growth. Furthermore, it does not promote productivity and high performance. Managers and employees should be aware that external performance is a reflection of the internal commitment and this is likely to provide opportunities for more promotions, public recognition, flexibility in the job, and financial rewards. When done with the right motivations, accountability will give people more freedom. However, some entities don't find it necessary to employ accountability because of the fear that some people will think they are under constant surveillance. Organizations which are committed to achieving their goals use the surveillance process that relies on the sharing of transparent information with various staff members.
Accountability is critical for the proper functioning of a modern economy. It also fosters individual-well-being. Because most powers are delegated to the public authorities, those who delegate the power (the community at large) needs assurance that the power will not be abused. Through transparency, certain information that can be used to measure the performance of the authority will be made available. In this regard, authorities can be held responsible for their actions. Without accountability, the trust will be lacking between the government and those governed, and this can lead to social instability and an environment that is not favorable for any growth. In this case, the government must initiate programs which are friendly to all citizens in the sense that the citizens must be well convinced that such programs are likely to enhance accountability at all levels.
Adequate responsibility is also important in ensuring that the community wealth is managed in the right way. Transparency in various sectors of the economy allows democratic debate on how the community's wealth should be handled. In a democratic society, people concentrate on the moral status of the elected leaders. This means that they pay more attention to what is happening and how leaders should be held responsible for their actions or behaviors. In such societies, information and sustainability are critical aspects of proper decision-making. The only way to improve accountability is to teach citizens about the need to monitor the services of the government and what it takes to live in an environment where decision-making is a collective responsibility.
In management, accountability is an obligation and an action. It is value driven and comes from within. An accountable manager truly believes that what he/she needs to do is important. Employees who are accountable can help to increase the performance of the business as a whole. Such workers can also maintain a positive culture, ethics, and vision of the organization. For accountability to be considered a success in any working environment, administrators must clearly communicate their expectations to the people they feel are responsible for certain actions or tasks. Clear communication is an effective tool for enhancing performance at every level.
Without defined goals and objectives, workers will be unable to properly adopt the strategies that are in line with what the entity stands for. They will also lack a reference to how they are performing in a workplace. To improve accountability in any environment, there is the need to eliminate outdated or dysfunctional compensation policies, make candid evaluations a priority, and model the behavior. It is the role of the management or a leader to review the entity's incentive compensation policies. If the standards by which performance is to be measured are not clear, it will be very difficult for the management to hold people accountable to high levels of productivity and the organization is not likely to meet both its short-term and long-term goals. The objectives must be meaningful and measurable.
Improving accountability can be accomplished over time by a management infrastructure that supports it, including sound compensation policies and result-driven standards. When certain individuals are not accountable, the community as a whole is affected. The management which tolerates missed deadlines and unfinished work tends to make such behaviors a norm. To make accountability a critical part of one's culture, a person has to work on his/her feedback skills, make accountability a habit, and keep track of commitments at all time. By understanding what drives productivity, the management will be in a position to motivate employees to leverage the human resources within the company.
In real life, people hold themselves accountable for their choices and actions, their responsibilities, and their goals. Based on actions and choices, one is likely to be accountable on how he/she spends time, his/her behavior and manners, his/her attitude and thoughts, and the way the person responds to certain challenges. When it comes to individual responsibilities, one is accountable when he/she executes job description to the best of his/her ability and being on time for business and personal commitments. Ac...
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