Insight for the Week: Responsibility and Accountability

Culture is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and norms found in human. Cultural studies are concerned with the meaning and practices of everyday life. A common challenge for leaders to overcome in a culture is an attitude of blame, and deflection of responsibility from agreed results. It’s human nature and all can be found guilty of doing this at some stage. When leadership detects this attitude creeping into the company, it’s their duty and moral obligation to stamp it out. A lack of ownership can disguise itself in many ways, from excuses, blaming others, to absenteeism. Whatever its shape or form it will infect others and detract from top performance.
“The price of greatness is responsibility.” – Winston Churchill

Responsibility is the ‘ability to respond’ creatively to people, situations, and circumstances. To own one’s communication and behavior enabling results agreed on. ‘I am responsible for doing what I said I would do.’ 

Accountability is the ability to account for what was agreed on. ‘I am accountable to deliver what I said I will deliver.’

Without a sense of ownership of a process of change, it is hard to convince a team to feel a sense of responsibility. Without a sense of responsibility, it is difficult to expect accountability. Without accountability, it is virtually impossible to know if success is being achieved or how to adapt what is being done. This relationship holds at every level and across levels in an organisation. When organisations declare programmes to be the responsibility of some department, but do not give them the necessary resources, a barrier is created. When departmental heads or operational level managers place the responsibility for change with staff without allowing them to help determine the direction and processes for that change, a sense of ownership is lacking, and a barrier is created. Similarly, in interdepartmental collaborations, when the roles of team are poorly defined and no one feels a legitimate part of the process, a barrier is created.

A high performing culture is a highly responsible and accountable culture. When commitments are made, they are delivered on, trust is built up and reliability becomes the norm. It’s the leadership’s role to set up agreed targets with staff and hold them accountable by an agreed time. We teach people how to behave towards us. This will teach people how to be responsible, no excuses.

How responsible are you? Do you have high accountability? If not make it so.
Aquinius Mung’atia, Currently Head of Projects & Security, and a strategy enthusiast at Aga Khan Hospital Mombasa in Kenya.

Published by Aquinius Mung'atia

Aquinius Mung’atia is the Head of Projects at Aga Khan Hospital, Mombasa, and was previously the General Manager of Muthaiga Golf Club and Sigona Golf Clubs, respectively. He is an expert in Strategic Management with over 20 years of experience in both hospitality and healthcare Industry. My Career path boast of extensive training and consultancy experience in Hospitality Industry, Hospital Support Services and Operations, Healthcare Projects and Facility Management, among others. The author is currently a PhD student in Business Administration and holder of MBA in strategic Management (University of Nairobi) and a 1st class honors degree in Hotel and Institution Management (Maseno University) Aquinius is also a healthcare insight and a data analytic enthusiast. Follow him on or Facebook Page

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