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Top 10 Reasons Your Team is Not Accountable

Updated: Oct 4, 2019

Did you know that 1 out of every 2 managers is terrible at accountability?

In an article for Harvard Business Review, more than 5,400 upper level managers were researched around the world, and guess what? Holding people accountable is the single biggest thing that managers avoid doing!

If we want our teams to be accountable, we’ve got to walk the talk. If we don’t hold people accountable, how do we expect people to be accountable, for themselves and to their teams?

Top 10 things you might be doing to prevent your team from being accountable:

  1. You’re too casual with your team - Are you hanging out having drinks, talking about other people, complaining, venting? Maybe you’re used to being “one of the guys” and the transition is tough. Perhaps you’re trying to connect with people. Maybe you just like hanging with them. Regardless, if you’re too lax with your team, it will be very hard to hold them accountable.

  2. Micromanaging - Are you worried things aren’t getting done properly, looking over everyone’s shoulders and putting in your two cents? When you’re too involved, people don’t feel like you trust them. In fact, the more people are watched, the less productive they are.

  3. Too vague with your expectations - You have an idea in your mind what the outcome should be, but you fail to communicate it. It’s like when you ask your teenager to clean your car and when you inspect it, it’s not even close to your expectation. Their idea of clean was completely different than yours!

  4. Allowing people to come vent about something without having them take responsibility - It’s good to be that ear for your people, but are you letting people vent without turning it around and helping them take responsibility?

  5. Getting mad about mistakes, or bringing it up over and over - Do you have a tough time accepting mistakes? Maybe you just can’t get it out of your mind and you keep bringing it up? Not being realistic about people making mistakes, and not being able to let go of it is sure to keep your team from being accountable.

  6. Allowing people to get away with the little things, not checking in on a regular basis - Maybe you’re afraid of being that micromanager, so you decide to be hands-off. The problem is, you’re not checking in enough. Finding the balance of checking in and micromanaging will be critical to accountability.

  7. Not giving feedback often - whether you’re avoiding giving constructive feedback, or you don’t give enough recognition and praise, you are missing the opportunity to help your team learn accountability.

  8. Solving their problems for them - We’ve all seen this in helicopter parenting! Well, guess what, it’s happening with management in the workplace too. Probably not for the same reasons, but we are enabling our teams to rely on us for problem-solving if we’re not teaching them to solve the problem.

  9. Doing things yourself because you’re impatient and/or you don’t like the conflict - When you just do it yourself, you’re robbing your team of the chance to grow and develop.

  10. Making excuses for not being accountable yourself - Most of the time this is masked pretty well. “I changed the date because I had to take another meeting.” Just remember the poem “Children Learn What They Live” by Dorothy Nolte. Replace Children with people and hang it on your wall!

Do you ever find yourself or someone you work with somewhere in this top 10?

If you want to get your team more accountable, join me Wednesday, August 2nd at 2:00 p.m. for a FREE 20-min webinar! Here’s the link to sign up: From Blame & Complain to Accountability & Ownership for Teams. (the webinar is over, but you can email Laurie at to request a copy of the recording!) Just for showing up to the webinar, I’ll give you a very handy accountability tool you can easily share with your team. No strings attached! 

I have two other resources that will help you with accountability! Everything DiSC® 363™ for Leaderscombines the best of a 360-degree assessment with the simplicity and power of DiSC. Plus, Commentsmart™ takes the sting out of the 360 experience with its guaranteed useful comments. In addition, you’ll get three strategies for improving leadership effectiveness. The result is a 360 experience that’s more productive and satisfying! Contact Jessica at to learn more about this 363 assessment.

You can also discover everything you need to know about inspiring action and accountability in my book, Leading with GRIT! It’s available on Amazon in hardcover and Kindle versions. 

And stay tuned for the Get Your GRIT Together Planner coming soon! 

Cheers! Laurie

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