In a world where people sue McDonald’s because it made them fat, accountability is lacking in many areas. The accountability shortage in this country can be linked to many factors and is the cause of many problems.

The epidemic has infected many offices as well. The business world has been trying to gain back its accountability for some time. It’s a losing battle.

People shouldn’t worry about the zombie apocalypse. They should worry about the other people who just let it happen since nothing is ever their fault or problem.

Where the Problem Stems From

Personally, I feel like the problem stems from the ease of blaming somebody else and taking no fault. We first learn about the dearth of accountability in schools via group projects. There will always be one person who doesn’t do their work and mooches the hardest worker’s grade. The fact that one team member can fall back on the work of others makes it easier to not give an honest effort on the project. This also means there are others to blame for the bad grade that is involved.

The work place mirrors this situation exactly, especially at the corporate level. To see what I mean, just watch the movie Office Space, where six different bosses talk to the main character when he messes up his TPS reports.

A lack of real corporate structure and accountability can spread throughout a company in a quick pace. Having one person to report to makes you more accountable in the sense that you will have to report your failures or mistakes. The employee who works alone without a team is held most accountable in this situation. Many times a team can find a scapegoat instead of pointing out what they all did wrong oftentimes they blame the weakest or most disliked member.

What’s the Solution?

Although accountability is lacking in many areas, admitting you have a problem – either personally or as an office – is half the battle. Implementing systems where concrete goals made and KPIs are set is a great start. The next step is actually following up with those KPIs and meeting those deadlines.

Employees will also become more accountable if they know accountability runs both ways regardless of office hierarchy. Employees, Managers, and co-workers all need to work together to successfully achieve goals.

In a workplace where most people want to be friends, accountability can suffer. It becomes a problem when certain friends “don’t want to be mean” by telling their co-worker how their performance is lacking. However, they’re not at the office to socialize, and most “true” friends should understand that their lacking in job performance hurts you.

At CopyPress, we have an interesting view on accountability which stems from our core value of humility. Accepting when you fail and admitting it is one of the first steps to have a transparent culture.

As smaller company, keeping people accountable is easier to gauge. When one person is lacking in work performance can have a large impact on others.

Accountability doesn’t end at just accepting your faults though. When you do something in excess of what your normal job requires, you will be praised. Equal negative and positive reinforcement is important to boost morale. Thanking the team members who stepped up to pick up the slack of another shows that you appreciate the accountability that their co-worker seems to lack.

I’ll close with something I tell people on my team: it would be called tickle time and not work if it wasn’t hard.