Although the term accountability can have negative connotations, in an accountability culture it is defined as “clear commitments that–in the eyes of others–have been kept.” It is not enough for people to have fulfilled commitments by their own definitions. They must check in with clients and coworkers throughout a process to ensure that they are accountable in the eyes of others. Essentially, accountability means that people can be relied on to do what they commit to do.

Leaders must present details of their plans, along with clear expectations, in order to establish accountability. Employees should be able to restate a leaders’ expectations in their own words; otherwise, accountability cannot be established.

Establishing accountability at the beginning of a project increases employee performance, allows everyone to understand how resources are distributed, enhances coworker relationships, and increases overall job satisfaction. These factors combine to create higher profits for the company.


The downside to leadership positions is that employees do not necessarily feel they are allowed to hold their managers accountable. A culture of accountability, however, means that everyone–from the CEO down–is responsible for their own actions and for ensuring that they are aligned with expected outcomes.

Accountable leaders look at themselves first when things go wrong. Then they ask themselves three key questions:

Where did the communication of expectations fail?

Who was necessary, but not included, in initial discussions?

What could have been done better?

One way for a person to ensure accountability is to find an accountability partner. The partner checks in regularly and asks about progress, how the project is coming along, what milestones have been met, and so on. Committing to a partner increases an individual’s sense of accountability and makes it more likely that goals will be met.


The language that is used within a company can build a culture of accountability. Establishing this language follows the same steps as learning any new language: hearing, recognizing, understanding, and speaking. In an accountability culture, people hold one another accountable in a positive and helpful way. They set clear expectations and clarify anything that might be open to interpretation–for example, if a report is to be finished “as soon as possible,” they specify whether that means today, tomorrow, or next week.

Ambiguous language such as “ASAP” or “I’ll get right on it” is part of the glossary of failure–language that results in disappointment and failed expectations due to a lack of clarity on both sides of the conversation. Specificity is essential to establishing accountability. The language of specificity includes phrases like “What date/time should I follow up with you?” and “Here is what it will look like when it is completed.” you can get trained with anubha and prism philosophy

There are four components to establishing an accountability dialogue:

  • Establishing clear expectations.
  • Setting specific dates and times.
  • Ownership.
  • Sharing.

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