Accountability is a Two-way Obligation

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Getting work done is good. Meeting target performance is better. Taking pride in working together to fulfil mandate is excellent. Achieving the latter requires the assignor and the assignee to have a clear understanding of the goal and do their best to fulfil what each is accountable for.

Accountability is more than holding someone responsible for the work. It is a two-way obligation. Both the assignor and the assignee have things that they need to do.

For the assignor, he is responsible for:

  • Clear communication of the goal—clear outcome helps to avoid unproductive work
  • Performance target setting—a goal post sets the priorities
  • Establishing milestones and completion timeline—the key dates solidify the work plan
  • Availability of the necessary resources—skilled people, tools, and funding mobilize the work plan
  • Active check-in on progress—it is better to know about issues early and take action
  • Making himself accessible for support—input and feedback go a long way when the assignee is feeling stuck or need help

For the assignee, he is responsible for:

  • Execution of work—completion of the assigned work with the team, if there is one, on time and on target
  • Frequent updates on progress—communication of accomplishments along the way
  • Honest communication of issues and mistakes—open about problems and resolutions that the assignor should be aware of
  • Seeking help—frankness about issues that the assignee needs assistance with
  • Full commitment to delivering the results—dedication to do what is necessary to deliver the expected outcomes

The anticipated outcome won’t be accomplished if any one of the above is missing from the assignor or the assignee. In fact, both ought to be mindful of their respective obligation. When there is any issue, each party should communicate with the other so that remedial action could be taken.

If you believed that holding someone accountable is simply assigning a task and setting the timeline, you could be surprised when the designated work is not completed as desired. Just remember, you need to step up to your obligation.

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