So you want your employees to be more accountable. Well here’s the kicker you have to let them decide what they are committed to. That means they have to set their own goals. As an employer or manager that can be a tough thing because you have an idea of what your team member should be doing. But as I’ve noted time and time again if you want to hold someone accountable you are going to get far better results if you are holding them accountable to what they said they were going to do rather than what you told them to do.

It also makes a huge difference if you have a culture of accountability. That means leadership is accountable to what they say they are going to do. It’s difficult to ask others to be accountable when you are not because it builds resentment. When leadership is accountable it builds trust and transparency. So when you are thinking that you need people in your organization to be more accountable, ask yourself, am I accountable? Am I following through on doing what I say I’m going to do? And when I don’t, am I taking responsibility?

After years of facilitating accountability groups I’ve learned that I am far better at holding others accountable when I am in the process myself. That means I am also making commitments and checking in each week with my group and sharing how I have done. My clients don’t need to know my commitments or whether or not I’ve kept them, but there is a different energy when you are holding yourself to the same standards you are holding others.


People want to do their best, they want to be challenged and take on more responsibility. If you aren’t getting that from your people, then look at your level of accountability and start there.