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5 Ways Managers Build Accountability

The right management style can help you build a more engaged and successful workforce.

As any of the top MBA programs will tell you, if you can build an accountable workforce you can build a strong workforce. What is accountability? In business, it’s a sense of ownership combined with a pride in the quality of work and a willingness to take responsibility for one’s role within the business. It’s a significant positive in the workplace. In fact, the United States Office of Personnel Management lists the following advantages of a culture of accountability:1


  • Improved performance
  • More employee participation and involvement
  • Increased feelings of competency 
  • Increased employee commitment to the work
  • More creativity and innovation
  • Higher employee morale and satisfaction with the work  

The question is, how can you create a business environment where your employees will be accountable? While earning an advanced business degree is often the best way to improve your management skills, there are several steps you can take to promote accountability in your current workforce. Here are five of the most important:

Establish Clear Roles and Expectations

Accountability begins with employees who know what’s expected of them. You should take the time to make sure members of your workforce have clear, written job descriptions and a full understanding of what duties they’re expected to perform and what goals they’re expected to reach. Employees who know their role are more likely to take ownership of that role.

Build Relationships

It should go without saying that employees are people. And yet, many managers do not take the time to get to know the people who work for them. If you demonstrate genuine interest in your employees—in their families, their hobbies, their personal struggles and triumphs—your employees are more likely to feel engaged in the business and more committed to its success.

Encourage Independent Thought

Employees who have the flexibility to suggest ideas and implement solutions will naturally feel a sense of ownership in the success of the business. But promoting independent thought means being willing to take a step back as a manager. You can’t micromanage and expect your employees to feel as if they’re anything more than a cog in the business. If you want your employees to feel responsible, you have to give them the space to take responsibility.

Provide the Right Tools and Feedback

Encouraging your employees to take initiative only works if you also provide them with the resources they need to implement their ideas and the feedback they need to maximize their chances for success. For instance, if you have a sales associate who has a good plan to expand your business reach, you should make sure they have the transportation, marketing materials, and support staff needed to execute the plan. Additionally, you need to monitor their efforts and provide positive feedback when the associate excels and constructive feedback when they run into problems. By offering strong support to your employees’ initiatives, you can significantly improve their ability to succeed, which in turn will motivate other employees to embrace a similarly high level of accountability.

Be a Model of Accountability

You can’t expect your employees to demonstrate a quality you yourself don’t exhibit. As a manager, being accountable means owning up to your mistakes and never taking credit for other people’s work. It also means taking pride in your day-to-day job and your role within the business. Teams are only as strong as their leaders. If you can be a strong leader, you can build a strong team.

How Can You Learn More About Business Management

Knowing how to build a culture of accountability is just one of the many skills you need to be a successful manager. If you want to improve your skills with the goal of advancing in management or entering management, you should consider enrolling in a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. By earning an MBA degree, you can gain a wide breadth of knowledge and skills that can help you start or advance a career in management.

Thanks to online education, earning a business administration degree is more convenient than ever before. Through an online graduate degree program, you can earn your MBA degree while you continue to work full time. That’s because an online MBA program gives you plenty of flexibility, allowing you to complete your coursework from anywhere and on a schedule that works for you. Some online MBA programs even offer competency-based learning, which can accelerate your degree path. By earning your MBA online, you can gain the skills you need to become a great manager.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online MBA program with a range of specializations. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,