Be Responsible and Accountable at Work

Responsibility for solving a problem or reaching a goal is frequently delegated to a team. Delegation means that team members are given responsibility and authority to carry out certain tasks while at the same time having their work inspected by the one who delegated it. As a team member, consider having your work reviewed and evaluated as practical training, an important aspect of the entire teamwork process. Having your work evaluated and receiving the opportunity to make improvements is your chance to learn, make advancement, and ultimately to be even more successful.

Unfortunately, learning to delegate successfully is a skill many leaders have not fully learned. Many supervisors, managers, or bosses simply do not know how to delegate effectively. They tend to either “micromanage” or totally abandon you. As a team member you need to assume responsibility for learning what is expected of you and what your specific responsibility is on the team. Communicate with the team leaders and other team members:

  • Ask questions.
  • Send e-mails.
  • Make phone calls.

Ask for facts and information that is relevant to the task. In addition, offer opinions to others and give candid feedback on their suggestions.

Do what is required to understand how best to carry out your responsibilities on the team. As a team member, learning how to carry out the work that has been delegated to you is a very important skill for you to gain. From there it is just a matter of time before you move up to the next level of responsibility and success.

Holding Each Other Accountable

Following the guidelines for effective teamwork generates trust and respect. When team members follow the principles of trust and respect, trust has a way of permeating the thinking of every team member. From that mind-set of trust, the team moves to a higher level — that important realm of accountability among teammates.

In being accountable to each other, everyone takes on the responsibility of leading the team toward the accomplishment of its goal. At this level, team effectiveness and efficiency are multiplied in numerous ways:

  • “Buy-in” or “ownership” of the team increases dramatically.
  • Team members develop skills and abilities that contribute to the team and enhance other areas of their lives as well.
  • Creativity abounds; new and innovative solutions are generated.
  • Team members focus on the team’s goals like never before.
  • Team members provide feedback, accept constructive criticism, and address issues head-on.
  • Everyone works together; team members are receptive to others’ ideas and they praise and encourage the contributions of others.
  • The team makes significant progress toward the accomplishment of the goal within the given budget and by the deadline.

Teams are most effective and productive when they work from the basis of accountability — accountability to oneself, accountability to the other team members, accountability to the team leader, and accountability to the organization itself. Not only does a climate of accountability encourage each member to do his or her best, it helps the team pull together to meet its goal and deliver the desired results at a high standard of excellence.

Leadership Management® Institute
Reprinted with permission
Strategic Essentials is a Managing Partner for Leadership Management® International, Inc.

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