Lack of Accountability

by | Feb 6, 2018 | High Road Accountability and Ethics, Leadership

Why do employees believe they can get away with murder? Why aren’t my employees taking responsibility? Why do people on my team not value accountability?

These are questions I receive all the time. Poor or weak accountability is a condition that negatively impacts many organizations, and this condition grows worse each day.

If the culture of your organization does not support and reinforce the value of accountability, employees can and often do “get away with murder.”

The High Road Institute has studied hundreds of different organizations and through this empirical research isolated the primary reasons why personal and corporate accountability is often weak or even non-existent.

I share with you the list of primary reasons, starting with the reason that serves as the root and catalyst for a culture where employees fail to follow the rules or live up to expectations.

Reasons Why an Organization Suffers From Weak Accountability

1. The leaders lack it, don’t believe in it, or fail to practice it.
2. The practice of accountability is not a component of the culture story.
3. There is no expectation for it because it is never defined and extolled.
4. Standards do not exist or they have they become unimportant.
5. Employees are punished for being accountable.
6. Employees are rewarded for being less than accountable.
7. Profits, growth, and other results are deemed more important than integrity, trust, and honor.
8. Life’s drama is the focus of employees’ attention.
9. The leaders do not care about the long-term effects of their actions and decisions.
10. Few consequences exist for unprofessional or bad behavior.
11. The practice of accountability is nonexistent in the environment the organization operates in.

Each condition is never an isolated contributor and is listed in terms of its impact and ability to weak the fabric of accountability. (with 1 being the most crucial).

An Analogy

Assume that each of these conditions is a terrible odor that affects the quality of the air you breathe in your workplace. As each condition gets added to the atmosphere, it makes it harder for employees to focus on the work, the mission, and service to their customers.

Once the foul odors fill the air, it is extremely difficult to get rid of the bad air.

Similarly, once these conditions start to weaken the fabric of accountability in your organization, it is very hard to change the environment to one that values accountable behaviors.

The place to start any improvement is at the top of my list. The first condition: “the leaders lack accountability, don’t believe in it, or fail to practice it” sets the foundation for the rest. Transform that condition and changing the rest becomes easier.

Please feel free to share this information with your colleagues.
Send me your questions about the critical topics of corporate and individual accountability.


There are several reasons why a company lacks accountability, and these reasons negatively impact the organization.

Ron Rael Leadership Provocateur, is a keynote speaker, consultant, and author.

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