I was talking to a leader today about accountability and ownership. I told her that is drives me a little bit crazy when I hear managers say, "we want employees to be more accountable." Why does this drive me crazy? Because managers who say this are confusing accountability and ownership and likely shirking their responsibilities in the process.
Managers hold employees accountable. They do this through a system of actions including:
If you are lacking accountability - then something is out of alignment in your accountability system, and this is a management problem.
Employees choose to feel and display ownership. Ownership happens when employees give discretionary effort and give their all. They transcend the employee-employer relationship and show a higher level of connection and commitment. Managers cannot force ownership to happen, but they can create an environment where ownership is more likely to flourish. Elements of this ideal environment includes:
If you are lacking ownership at your workplace, then look to the culture and environment. This, too, may be a management problem (it usually is).
The actions and habits that increase accountability are DIFFERENT than the management actions and habits that increase ownership. So please don't expect ownership to improve when you implement a new performance evaluation form - it won't happen because this is a tool for the accountability system.
If you want more accountability and ownership, take another look at your management training to make sure it develops the skills needed to do each and take a look at how managers are held accountable for these aspects of their performance.
What's happening at your workplace and which system is in the greatest need of tuning and development? What's your next step?