When you think of accountability, you might associate it with words like collaboration, responsibility, and teamwork; being held answerable to the accomplishment of certain goals. That would be the ideal way to think of accountability, wouldn’t it?
Now let’s examine the concept of workplace accountability from a slightly different perspective than what you’re used to. What we’re noticing in the workplace is that “accountability” is being viewed much differently depending on what side of the desk you’re sitting on. Why? Because the motivations of a manager are different from the motivations of an employee. Simple as that.
The reality is that only 30% of workers report feeling engaged at work, and 13% feel that their managers are helping them to set performance goals (Gallup), which would indicate that many existing employee performance management strategies are flawed. Most companies are finding it harder and harder to tap into the real reasons behind what truly drives a person to succeed: The universal desire of an individual to feel valued, to live with a sense of purpose, and to belong to something bigger than just themselves.
We believe many companies are missing the mark on how to motivate staff based on these principles because they are defining accountability in a way that many employees find demeaning. Bold statement – but, quite possibly, closer to the truth than we think. Try to remember all the times when you yourself felt like you weren’t valued in your company and that you were simply another lemming in the pack meant to achieve unrealistic goals set by your manager.
Understanding Workplace Disengagement
Managers and companies often start off with great intentions when first creating a strategic vision, setting goals, and taking action. And, so it’s not surprising that managers often feel confused and frustrated when they notice their employees becoming disengaged with their work and team.
The solution to this workplace epidemic of Accountability Aversion? Perhaps it’s time to redefine accountability, reinvigorate the workplace, and reengage your team members.
There are different schools of thought around the true role of a manager – and our goal with this article is not to challenge your managerial style or abilities, but to offer you potential new ways of looking at how you as a company and a manager can continue to achieve your objectives while maintaining a company culture that breeds employee empowerment, connection, and satisfaction.
A New Perspective on Accountability: Supporting and Empowering Employee Performance
The directive of a manager is always the same: To effectively coordinate and control the flow of activities for the purpose of achieving clear objectives. The difference between one manager and another is how she chooses to motivate her employees and how well show knows how her employees like to be motivated. Being able to cultivate a workplace environment that realigns the concept of accountability with pride in performance is one piece of the Accountability Perspective pie that we’re trying to establish here.
Managers that understand their employee’s motivations and are able to build a team infrastructure that allows their employees to leverage their skills, talents, and personal goals is the mark of great leader. Heading off the demons of disengagement in the workplace before they have a chance to break down the mental health and performance of an employee is critical – because when one employee suffers, so too does the team.
Understanding what motivates an employee and how to inspire a sense of purpose and belonging while also cultivating a workplace environment that puts a priority on optimism and self-fulfillment is a tall order. And, it can be done.