Focus on Positive Accountability


Operations that foster accountability run like well-oiled machines. Their people and processes work in lockstep to achieve more predictable, profitable results. Employees are engaged and aligned to the company’s mission and goals. And their leaders know that reinforcing accountability is more effective when it’s positive reinforcement. Harping on what’s wrong and investing energy into spotlighting mistakes does little good for individual morale and company culture. Rather, emphasize what’s positive and working well. Celebrate victories – even the little ones. Also, commit to supporting your employees with the right resources and effective management tools. A positive accountability approach will cultivate employee satisfaction, grow morale, and nurture a healthy work culture.  

Here’s how to make your accountability positive and productive:  

Create alignment. You’ve got to have everyone on the same page when it comes to setting goals and achieving results. As we like to say, “If your employees don’t know where you are going, almost any road will get them there.” Erase the ambiguity and inconsistency in your culture by drawing up a solid business plan, and using detailed planning for specific projects, programs, products, or services you roll out. Involve and engage your team to build understanding, ownership, and alignment around measurable goals and expectations. Spend time investing in the buy-in needed for your plan, so that alignment is strong from the start.  

Drive more positive performance. Applaud what’s going right and ask how more of what’s working can be applied to your business. While you will need to take appropriate, proactive measures to correct mistakes and address what’s not working, tap into those victories and the people who are driving them to help build even more success. Look for patterns, trends and lessons in the wins as well as small, seemingly “random” victories that might provide clues around new ways to drive even greater achievement. Don’t have the time to research and assess all this? Delegate! Ask your staff to report on their successes. Inspire innovative thinking and challenge them to find new ways to build upon what is working well. 

Celebrate victories and recognize winners. Studies have repeatedly shown that recognition is a top motivator to success. And that’s why MAP consultants such as Steve Behunin always kick off every client meeting with the question: Who is delivering above and beyond? Disciplining yourself to focus on your people and their achievements sets the stage for a type of leadership that puts your staff and the company culture first. This management style gives everyone a boost, and consistently nourishes a culture of positive accountability that builds morale. Consistently kicking off meetings or monthly check-ins with your team by celebrating victories and recognizing winners is a solid solution for growing and driving positive accountability. And guess what? Unlike the company picnic, this praise is free! But no doubt about it, there’s nothing “cheap” about this high-value activity. 

How do you recognize company victories and the employees  
contributing to such success?


​ The Disciplined Leader

What do the best leaders have in common? The answer is one word: Discipline. A disciplined leader is one who identifies and focuses on the Vital Few: the 20% of activities that will drive 80% of the results. Learn More

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