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Why does ‘accountability’ get such a bad rap?

How to Transform your Good Team into a Great Team

Mention accountability and performance reviews, and you will often get a typical response of negativity among team members and managers, or even dread. So why do such accountability systems get such a bad rap?

An Accountability study revealed that more than 4 out of 5 leaders feel they have “limited to no” ability to hold others accountable successfully. At the same time, they recognise that greater accountability is a crucial business need. So, if they need it so much, why do leaders feel ill-equipped to keep their team members accountable?

When things go wrong, people are often told to be accountable for their actions.

Reactive responses like this don’t give a great perception of accountability. Individuals can view it as finger-pointing and blaming. However, accountability, when approached proactively, is precisely what employees are looking for.

Employees need to know exactly what you need them to do, when and how well.

Why? Because if they don’t know, how can they succeed?

A Gallup Study showed just how ineffective traditional accountability systems are viewed, where only 14% of employees feel their performance is managed in a way that motivates them, and 70% believe that managers are not objective in evaluating their performance. Unsurprisingly, team members become disillusioned about accountability and view activities such as performance reviews as a mechanical and negative process rather than one that promotes clarity, engagement, development, and motivation.

So, how can a business create more effective accountability? Read on for tips on creating systems that build accountable workplaces with empowered team members and leaders working toward shared objectives.

Creating accountability that benefits all.

There are some key factors to building effective accountability in the workplace:

Fairness – research has shown that people are likelier to be honest and engaged in serving the organisation’s goals rather than their own personal interests when they perceive they are being treated fairly. This should not be confused with ‘treating everyone the same’, where the focus is more on compliance or avoiding litigation. Fairness and individuality are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Fairness reinforces the connection between the contribution made and the contributor.

Objectivity – performance metrics that keep team members accountable need to be practical and measurable for team members to know what they need to do, when and how well to do it, to succeed in their roles.

Inclusion – team members must be involved in creating their goals and metrics to have buy-in and feel they have a clear understanding and the power to achieve these goals. Also, giving them a voice to self-evaluate increases ownership and accountability further.

Alignment – it is essential that team members feel they are contributing meaningfully to the business outcomes. Therefore, accountability at an individual level needs to link to team goals, which relate to business goals.

Mindset – a mindset of always maintaining dignity and emphasising that mistakes are opportunities will increase honesty, rather than hiding errors in fear of being shamed.

Communication – open and transparent communication allows honesty and minimises perceptions of unfairness.

Accountability creates a Win/Win for employees and leaders.

Accountability is maintained and measured through vital recognition processes such as performance reviews. They measure how team members perform against individual, team, and business goals, providing a forum for critical feedback, guidance, and encouragement so individuals can be their best and be accountable.

Recognition provided through objective performance metrics increases employee engagement, sense of contribution, and motivation while increasing accountability for their areas of responsibility. Partnered with regular informal feedback, performance reviews provide team members with the knowledge and strategies to progress confidently with what they need to achieve to be successful and develop. And in turn, business leaders can confidently delegate and lead, knowing they have mechanisms to objectively monitor and measure outcomes at all levels of the business.

Building accountability in your business

Help your business reach its potential by transforming your good team into a great team. The Team at Balanced Scoreboard have tried and tested methods to assist you in building accountability throughout your organisation. Utilising industry know-how, they can help you create performance metrics and review processes that will lead to happier team members and better business outcomes.

The Team at Balanced Scoreboard understand the specific challenges small to medium-sized professional service practices face. They also understand the pressure on current leaders to deliver on business objectives, exacerbated by the current demand for scarce talent to assist them. Utilising their industry-specific know-how can give you the professional edge that attracts and retains quality people and keeps them on track.

Contact Balanced Scoreboard to learn more about how they can assist you in delivering and implementing strategies for recognising, retaining, and rewarding your greatest asset, your people, and transforming your good team into a great team.

For further information, enquire today via

You can also view our Blog ‘Why Balanced Scoreboard’ to see what a Talent Management Strategy includes. Balanced Scoreboard® is a registered trademark of Altitude Innovations © 2021. All rights reserved