Accountability is the Key to Building Trust

Greater trust should not be the object of your efforts, but rather is an outcome of your approach to creating accountability. 

Est. reading time: 5 minutes

One of every four working American’s describes their workplace as a dictatorship, while only half say their boss treats subordinates well (source: Zogby).  Another survey suggests that almost half of people who leave their job do so because of some problem with management.

To top it off, employee job satisfaction is at an all time low of 45%. These assessments reveal that trust has been eroded in the workplace and we think it is largely the result of the disastrous way many managers and leaders implement accountability in their organizations.

The solution? Correctly and effectively implement accountability in a positive and principled way and you will see trust return to the workplace. Greater trust should not be the object of your efforts, but rather is an outcome of your approach to creating accountability. If your approach to accountability has a negative impact, then you will certainly see trust deteriorate.

To solve it, you might be tempted to declare a “trust week” in your organization, with the hopeful goal that everyone would suddenly believe in one another more. However, we all know that won’t happen. If you want greater trust, then build greater accountability in a way that is positive and principled (the subject of all of our blogs). When you do, you get a lot more than increased trust, you also get greater employee engagement, more ownership of the job, better follow-through, improved morale and better results.

When people feel accountability is exemplified, encouraged, and followed-up on in a predictable way, trust is strengthened, even when they fail to perform. Working with others, holding them accountable for key expectations and desired results, allows you to form a unique connection with each of them. If people feel you have dealt unfairly with them, they will undoubt­edly think of the connection in negative terms.

If, however, people feel you have treated them fairly and in a supportive manner, they will most likely think of the connection in posi­tive terms. The more positive your connections, the more success you’ll have in holding others accountable for achieving results, and the more trust you’ll build along the way.

Remember, trust is an outcome of greater accountability, when it is done the right way—accountability that is consistently exemplified, expected, and followed-up on. 

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