What does accountability look like at work?

What does accountability look like at work?

By Liz

Sometimes the term “accountability” can feel like an abstract concept and talking about values can feel a bit preachy. At the same time, we want everyone in our team to have a really clear picture of our company values because they inform how we work together and being accountable is crucial for us all to succeed.

So we had a skillshare where I shared 10 examples of what accountability looks like at work with shout-outs to team members who embody these qualities and opened it up to a team discussion to hear their take.

What is accountability?

When you’re accountable, you take ownership of situations that you’re involved in. You see things through to the end, and you take responsibility for the outcome – whether it’s positive or negative. You don’t blame others if things go wrong but rather do your best to make things right.

Why is accountability important at Pomegranite?

Accountability is the foundation of trust within our team. It means that we can rely on each other, we can build upwards from a solid foundation and our energy flows in the same direction, towards the same goals.

And yet, accountability is not something we’re all born with. It’s a set of personal behaviours that we weave into our work to show our team that we are a person who can be counted on. To paint a clear picture of what it is and to help us all work on it, here are 10 expressions of accountability with concrete examples of what they look like at work, particularly at Pomegranite.

Being accountable means that you…

  1. Pay attention to the details

This means accepting responsibility for the quality of your work and actively identifying the things that can be improved to make a piece of work the best it can be before it is shared. This looks like error-free writing, well prepared handovers and comprehensive briefs.

  1. Acknowledge and fix your mistakes

Mistakes are a regular and necessary part of learning and growing. Being accountable means that instead of resorting to blame, you take responsibility for things you can improve. This looks like seeing your errors as an opportunity for growth and not a personal failing.

  1. Help your team

Stepping up to help others when you can shows collaboration and support for the team’s success. This looks like picking up work when others are on sick or annual leave, offering to handle tasks when you know someone has a lot on their plate, and taking the initiative to research tools that will help the team.

  1. Take a proactive approach

This involves thinking ahead to see more broadly than your own tasks or timeline and planning accordingly. Thinking proactively allows you to create practical solutions to mitigate any potential problems. This looks like improving systems, flagging potential issues, and asking questions about a brief to do a better job for a client.

  1. Work like a leader

Whatever your position is, it’s possible to think and act like a leader. This looks like leading yourself to grow, being an example to those around you, taking initiative, and sharing information that benefits the team.

  1. Communicate well

Being accountable to yourself and those you work with means communicating timeously, clearly and thoroughly. This looks like being responsive and prompt on Slack and email, raising ideas to improve work for a client, sharing positives and negatives in check-ins, and flagging holes in internal processes.

  1. Show up

Being accountable means bringing your full, committed self to work every day. This looks like being on time for calls, delivering work before deadline, managing your time well, having an awareness of the team’s time commitments, doing your own research and coming to meetings prepared.

  1. Accept constructive criticism

Feedback is the lifeblood of a team, it’s what keeps us all growing. Accepting criticism is the only way to learn from it. This looks like acknowledging that you have things to learn, hearing feedback without being defensive, acknowledging the areas to improve and being honest about them with yourself.

  1. Offer solutions instead of complaints

Our work is full of challenges and problems and it’s tempting to resort to complaining, which brings the team down. How we deal with challenges is why clients like working with us. Accountability looks like choosing to respond rather than react.

  1. Offer a sincere apology

Mistakes happen all the time and it’s how you handle them and yourself that’s important. A sincere apology comes from the heart and does not include “buts” or excuses. How you apologise says so much about who you are. A sincere apology shows you’re accountable to yourself and those around you.

These specific expressions of accountability and what they look like in our company led the way for more shout-outs from the team and a discussion about how much this attribute informs our whole company culture – from how to interact with each other to how we handle challenging situations.

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