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Getting people to take ownership of their jobs starts with managers who own theirs.
Accountability is apparently a big problem. According to a
2013 survey of by AMA Enterprise, a division of the American Management Association, a fifth of business leaders believe that 30 to 50 percent of employees aren’t held accountable for their performance.
The steps for ensuring accountability are not new.
And yet, the challenge continues.
Conventional wisdom holds that this is a worker problem. Participants in my management and leadership programs lament the declining work ethic and lack of loyalty. They talk of employees who merely rent their jobs rather than owning them. For them, the solution is to get tougher and dole out discipline. But what if conventional wisdom is wrong? What if the lack of accountability is a leadership problem?
The difference between leaders who inspire ownership and those from whom employees merely trade time for money has less to do with strategies and techniques than it does with the mindset with which they approach their responsibilities. The best leaders are guided by the following beliefs:
Does It Work?
Think of a teacher, mentor, or coach who meant a great deal to you and answer the following questions:
One last question: Was your response to them and performance based on the authority of their position or on your relationship?
Leaders who struggle with other’s accountability view their job as mandating compliance. Those who get accountability right know that most people want to do great work. They view their job as creating an environment where commitment and self-discipline are volunteered. Here are three things you can do right now to build a culture of volunteered accountability:
Employees show up on their first day at work wanting to take ownership and succeed. Somewhere along the way, some will decide to do as little as possible. How many employees take that path may very well depend on you.
Randy Pennington is an award-winning author, speaker, and leading authority on helping organizations achieve positive results in a world of accelerating change. Visit
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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