It is not only WHAT WE DO, but also WHAT WE DO NOT DO for which WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE.
~John Baptiste Moliere
We devise rules and regulations to create and maintain accountability in our organizations, and yet, ironically, if we hire people who are highly accountable, rules and regulations are seldom necessary. It would seem self-evident that we cannot hold people accountable to rules and regulations if they are unaccountable to themselves. In truth, we cannot impose accountability, yet we continually attempt to perpetuate this myth. Creating rules in an attempt to impose accountability will not affect the unaccountable; instead these rules serve to punish and diminish other accountable team members. No matter how hard we try to impose it, accountability is always a personal choice. You either choose it or you don’t.
Don’t be fooled into believing that accountability is strictly a staff problem. Many practice owners also lack accountability, and a leader that lacks accountability is certain to attract staff members that also lack this characteristic. The resulting practice culture is undisciplined, chaotic, and demoralizing. Leaders must always model personal and professional accountability to their staff in order to attract and maintain a team with similar qualities.
At the end of the day, personal accountability is an innate form of self-discipline. People who are self-disciplined are also highly self-accountable. Consistent efforts toward self-improvement are a good measure of this trait. For example, someone who is eager to acquire additional certifications or education is someone who is self-disciplined and will likely exhibit a high degree of accountability. Furthermore, someone who considers their role first when designing positive work-related solutions is displaying a high degree of accountability. This is the type of person we should seek for our staff.
And here’s the silver lining…Once you have finally acquired a highly accountable team, they will become self-policing and unanimously reject anyone who lacks accountability as a team member.