Accountability and Ownership in Your Business

A blog intended for owners, CEO’s and team leaders. 

Accountability and Ownership in Your Business

As a business coach, one of the biggest challenges my clients often face is the need for their team to take ownership and accountability for their work. Accountability, when appropriately and effectively employed, can transform your team and business.  

As business owners, we can find it extremely difficult to let go and reduce our micro-managing tendencies. Although we may think we are delegating out responsibilities, the truth is that we often never really let employees own their job, make mistakes, and do it their way. This is especially true for business owners who started their own business…our mindset is that this is our “baby” and no one can care for it the way we do.

In reality, this type of mindset will only serve to kill accountability and ownership. Driving accountability has to start at the top with the business owner or leadership team.

The most important factor that leads to ownership in a business is understanding how to cultivate a business culture that supports accountability and high performance. Essentially, your business culture profoundly affects how the people inside the organization think, behave, and react. The only way to gain business culture leverage is by adjusting the internal dynamics and there are several planned actions that can make that happen.

To cultivate a culture of accountability, the individual culture needs to become unified with the owner’s/leader’s vision.  This, of course, requires that the owner/leaders clearly define their vision and develop numerous vehicles to communicate and engage the team around it.  Establishing clear guidelines and expectations is an excellent way to do this and it can be an important factor leading to your team’s success. Clear performance metrics should be set in place for the business, individuals, and teams and these expectations should be transparent. The checklist provides additional communication ideas and other approaches that will help align and support individual and team efforts.

Below are a few leadership and performance management processes to consider when trying to implement an effective accountability and ownership strategy in your workplace:

High-performance leaders don’t push you, they inspire you. And the consistency of their message helps develop trust which is a non-negotiable in developing empowered, accountable individuals and teams.  By constantly cultivating a culture of transparency and communicating the mission and values consistently as well, those at the top keep people informed, up-to-date, and on track.

Skilled owners or leaders give team members real authority which is one of the key elements of strong, successful delegation. Meaningful ownership or authority means providing team members with opportunities to have input and control over their own work, and the ability and desire to openly share suggestions and ideas about their job and the business overall. They need to be given authority to make decision impacting their work and be accountable for the results…good or bad!

The Performance Management Model provides a visual representation of the processes and systems that help direct individual and team performance, hold them accountable, and measure results. For example, well developed recognition and reward systems – with the emphasis on recognition – are a good way to acknowledge and appreciate those that take ownership and also helps send a clear message of what is expected. On-going opportunities for personal development encourages skill improvement and supports accountability. Check out some other processes outlined in the performance management model so you have a systematic approach rather then a piecemeal hit or miss focus on developing accountability and ownership.

Ultimately, developing a culture of ownership and accountability still rests at the top with the owner/leadership team. It is one of those competences that the leaders in the businesses need to understand and then demonstrate and implement the actions that will support it. Check out the attached leadership/management competencies to see how you stack up.  


Michelle Landis, Founder and Principal, Master Business Coach

Michelle Landis, Master Business Coach

As a business coach, I use a unique blend of coaching and consulting to help business owners achieve a higher level of performance for both themselves and their business. It’s a very direct approach that provides my clients with insights into what is coming next, laser-sharp focus and the opportunity to practice, make mistakes and learn in a safe and supportive environment.


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