There are too many business people that see themselves as victims. They consistently avoid taking responsibility, ownership, and accountability for their mistakes. Lack of accountability in the workplace doesn’t just make it hard to manage your teammates—it can also affect your bottom line and create distrust in your team.
While you should never hire someone with a victim mentality, sometimes employees who do good work can fall into patterns of making excuses and deflecting blame. It’s essential to understand why they do this to break the cycle and change your office culture for the better.
What Causes Lack of Accountability?
There are two main reasons employees might show a lack of accountability in the workplace, and it’s essential to know which one you’re dealing with when wondering how to hold employees accountable for this behavior.
The first reason is fear. An employee is afraid of being disciplined for a mistake or is worried about their job security, so they blame others or make excuses about why their work is not up to par. If you suspect this is the case, you should ask yourself: have you given this employee a reason to feel so uncomfortable at work?
You should always work to create a business culture where your employees don’t have to be afraid of failure, where mistakes are treated as part of the growth journey. If you’re confident that you do have this type of culture, the employee may be traumatized from a previous job where people were shamed for slipping up.
If you sense that this is why your employee shows a lack of accountability in the workplace, it’s essential to have compassion when you talk to them. Explain the pattern you’ve noticed, and make sure they know that you don’t ever want to shame an employee for making mistakes, but rather to understand why they might have happened simply.
Help them see the importance of taking personal responsibility through leading by example. You can also prevent this from happening by recognizing employees for performing well so they don’t feel like their slip-ups are the only thing you notice.
The second reason for the lack of accountability in the workplace is arrogance. An employee believes themself to be so great at their job that they can’t possibly make a mistake. They blame others and always seem to have multiple excuses but can never admit that they messed up.
These employees are much harder to coach, and if they cannot see the error of their ways after one severe warning, it’s time to let them go. Toxic attitudes will only hurt the rest of your team. Everyone needs to understand the importance of accountability, but you can’t say that you value responsibility if you let these victims off the hook.
Your role as a leader is to reshape the victim mentality of blame, excuses, and denial into ownership, accountability, and responsibility. Ask yourself; would I enthusiastically rehire this person? If the answer is no, it’s time to find a replacement.
Leadership and accountability go hand in hand. Fill out my contact form, and let’s talk about installing the winning attitude of ownership in your team.