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  • Kick Ass Zombie Hunter

Don’t Hold People Accountable

Illustration of origami paper bird escaping out of a birdcage.

Every leader strives to build accountability in their team. They want to know how to hold people accountable. The problem is you can’t hold people accountable.

Accountability is a willingness to take responsibility or ownership. Only the person themselves can do it.

If you try to hold someone accountable who is unwilling, they will only see it as blame or punishment. The more you pressure and insist, the more they will resist.

Instead of trying to hold people accountable, you need to create the right conditions for them to be willing.

Accountability is about pull methods, not push.

We earn willingness when we create a safe and invigorating environment for people to work in.

We earn willingness when we help people connect and build relationships with one another.

We earn willingness when we give people meaning and purpose for their work.

We earn willingness when we appreciate and recognize people for both what they do and who they are.

We earn willingness when we encourage people to grow and challenge them to learn new skills and abilities.

We earn willingness when we ask for people’s opinions and ideas.

When people care about the work they do, who they do it with, and who they do it for, while feeling cared for, then they are more than willing to take responsibility for what they do. Indeed, they will embrace accountability.



Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. Can you think of an instance when someone wanted to hold you accountable, but you saw it as blame? Why did you feel this way?

  2. What makes you willing to take responsibility or ownership for something?

  3. What can you do as a team/organization to create a culture that promotes more willingness?


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