Top Barriers to a More Accountable Culture

Top Barriers to a More Accountable Culture
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Workplace Culture Defined
We define company culture as HOW work gets done as opposed to WHAT gets done. It is the unique combination of the values, beliefs, and attitudes of your workforce that govern how the business operates and how employees think and behave as they accomplish their work objectives. Your goal should be to create a more accountable culture.

Our organizational alignment research found that workplace culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies. The right culture, whatever that may be in your unique situation, matters. We believe that it is a leader’s job to foster a healthy, high performing, and purposeful culture that promotes and sustains business and people success.

The Role of Leaders in Culture Creation
Leaders play a significant role in creating their organization’s culture. They establish the standards of behavior, set the tone, model desired behaviors, and make the decisions that drive business outcomes. In good times, they are the champions; in difficult times, they bear the responsibility. Leaders must do all they can to guide the ship in the right direction.

Four Culture Traps for Leaders to Avoid if They Want to Increase Accountability
We are often called in to work with companies to help define problems, point to solutions, and then implement them. Sometimes the problems are caused by leaders who fall into the following four traps that pose serious barriers to a healthy, accountable workplace culture.

  1. Lack of Clarity
    It is all too common for executives who have spent countless hours working on company strategy to assume their employees have the same context. Too often employees feel that leaders present the business plan without the background information and rationale for change that would persuade them to commit to the initiative.

    It is imperative that leaders simplify the message, that they reiterate it frequently, and that they check for understanding. Employees need a clear vision of desired outcomes, a deep understanding of and agreement with the goals, and a practical plan for achieving those goals.
  2. Lack of Trust
    While employees must trust their leaders to steer the company in the right direction, a leader’s lack of trust in employee capabilities to achieve business goals leads to micromanaging, a leader’s desire to control every aspect of an activity. This management style of over-supervision is stressful and sabotages productivity. Employees lose motivation and any sense of ownership or pride in their work result.

    Micromanagers are likely to be perfectionists. They overthink situations and spend too little time in moving ahead. The better leadership style is to allow the team to take calculated risks, recover when things go awry, learn from missteps, and focus on results.
  3. Lack of Transparency
    Transparency in the workplace has been debated among leaders for decades. Some say transparency is essential to fostering a culture of trust.  Others say transparency in the workplace creates unnecessary headaches.

    One thing is certain.  When there is no place to hide and you know others are watching, you are likely to behave the way you should.  Accountability and transparency go hand-in-hand.  Misaligned behaviors can fester and cause decreased engagement, performance, and retention.
  4. Lack of Focus
    Too many leaders are waylaid by the urgent and the human tendency to want to be liked. They give too much energy to immediate tactics and too much importance to the thoughts and opinions of others when they should, instead, focus on the important.

    The best leaders are open to listen to others but always keep the end goal and big picture in mind.

The Bottom Line
A healthy company culture is one of shared accountability. Be the leader whose strategy is clear and agreed-upon, who trusts colleagues and employees to do the job right, who stays focused on business goals, and who creates a more accountable culture.

To learn more about how to build a more accountable culture, download The 3 Levels of a Culture That Your Leaders Must Get Right

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