What does it mean to be an accountable employee? I think most people’s initial response would be, to be responsible for your own actions in the workplace. While that is certainly part of the equation, I’m particularly intrigued with the definition for accountability from The OZ Principle, written by Roger Connors, Tom Smith and Craig Hickman.
Authors of this book define accountability as an attitude of continually asking what else can I do to rise above my circumstances and achieve the results I desire? In the workplace, you could edit and also include, results the company desires.
The book continues to explain an ‘Above and Below the Line’ concept. In my opinion, it is a great depiction of what true accountability looks like, whether that be personally or in a work setting. According to the book, accountability above the line involves Seeing It, Owning It, Solving It, and Doing It. On the flip side, the unaccountable or victim cycle, includes things like wait and see, it’s not my job, finger pointing, and more.
If you are responsible for a team or just interested in accountability, I would highly recommend The Oz Principle. Let me share a bit about how we at AgCareers.com have put this concept to practice. This concept was introduced to the team in a group setting and gets reiterated frequently.
Each team member was given a visual (seen above) to remind them of the Above and Below the Line concept that makes for an accountable employee. Personally, on days where I might be struggling a bit, I pull it out as a reminder to stay above the line and not fall into any of the victim cycle traps.
This concept helps managers and their employees as they work through difficult situations they may be having. Instead of ‘Who did this?’ the focus is on ‘How can I help ensure this doesn’t happen again?’ It also is a teaching tool that can be pulled out and discussed when working through scenarios. Asking things such as, “Was your approach in that situation above or below the line?”
Overall, it has given our staff a common language when it comes to accountability and you might even hear an AgCareers.com team member say, “Hey, I’m going to go below the line,” share something, and then say “Okay, time to get back above the line.” Because let’s face, it is challenging to stay Above the Line all the time. But that awareness of when you drop below is key and working yourself back above the line quickly is crucial.
Accountability starts with realization of where you are (normally) on that visual. Above or below? And while taking ownership of your actions and choices is a part of being an accountable employee, I think the differentiating factor in The Oz Principle’s definition is that you can’t let outside factors influence your accountability and you must find a way to make things work!
Read this AgCareers.com newsletter article for more on what it means to be an accountable employee.