Imagine if you are a king who does not have any powers. A leader without accountability is also similar.
An organization is made up of individuals who have grown through the grind of life to reach the stage they are at the current point of their lives. I am sure that many of them would have taken up a significant amount of accountability at some point of their life. It is time organizations trust these people to take judicious decisions and act in an accountable way.
Let me give you an example. Suppose an organization hires a leader as the head of a particular function but interferes in each and every decision that the leader takes. Is this promoting accountability or undermining accountability?
The problem that most organizations have with giving accountability is the fear of failure. But it is important that organizations treat failure as a part of accountability.
People will fail. Leaders will fail. And hence organizations will fail. But that is the beauty of life. The true leaders will learn from these failures. Do not be hard on them for these failures. Be hard on them when they do not learn from these failures.
Accountability, according to me, is a little bit like the free space on both sides of a road. As people start a new role or work on a new idea, organizations have to make sure that the space on the both sides is wide enough so that the chances of crashes are less and even if a crash occurs, the impact is reduced. As time goes by, the space on the sides will have to be reduced and the leeway will have to be made smaller.
Take sports. This is how new players are groomed. They are not micromanaged. They are told to be accountable of their own fate and results.
What can organizations do to achieve this? Accountability must start from the top. The top management must lead by example and hold themselves accountable for the results of the organization. They cannot blame anyone but themselves. Organizations will also have to make sure the accountabilities and expectation of each and every one is clearly listed down and rigorously tracked. So, go on. Take the journey towards building accountability. Start from the top, do not be afraid of confrontation, and practice giving feedback if accountabilities are not met.