Accountability is Contagious

A culture of accountability in an organization or team starts at the top.

As a leader, you hold yourself accountable not only to your superiors and/or board, but also to your team members. You should be accountable for providing vision, direction, support, resources and follow-through on specific initiatives you undertake.

Sadly, the lack of accountability is equally contagious. Failing to hold yourself and your team accountable, essentially creates a culture in which fulfilling responsibilities, assignments and promises is not expected. Clearly, not a culture which breeds engagement or high performance.

It bears repeating that accountability is NOT the same thing as blame.

Accountability is being responsible for what you do; ownership of an action we impose on ourselves. Blame, on the other hand, is imposed on others, an accusatory and negative concept.

Your personal accountability – not just fulfilling your responsibilities, but also owning up to being late or unsuccessful in fulfilling a responsibility – sets the standard and expectations for the team. It allows you to ask them to be accountable for their own actions and responsibilities, effectively teaching them to value their work, increasing their confidence and trust in one another, empowering them and setting the stage for high performance.

Creating and maintaining a culture of accountability and performance excellence takes intentionality and practice.

Defining the team’s mission and goals and then ensuring each individual understands and takes ownership of their part in achieving those goals requires very clear and deliberate communication and practice, practice, practice. High performing individuals, teams and companies are active carriers of contagious accountability!

We will be getting to the heart of performance in our Annual Summit February 14th and I do hope you and/or others on your team can join us. You may register here and feel free to contact me if you need more information.


Fundamental 12: Be Accountable: Act like you are an owner in the company. Ownership accountability means holding yourself to account, holding others to account, and the willingness to be held to account.

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