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Employee Owners Who Foster Healthy Accountability

Accountability within ESOPs (employee stock ownership plans) has been at the forefront of my thoughts, as I recently attended the Pennsylvania-Delaware ESOP Association Conference. Amidst interactions with employees and owners, the concept of healthy accountability within an employee owner environment resonated profoundly.  

Good Leadership’s table at the Pennsylvania-Delaware ESOP Assocation Conference

When individuals find joy in their work and feel the team is committed to helping them thrive both personally and professionally, employees seek accountability. Healthy accountability comes from strong interpersonal connections and teams who are skilled at building shared commitments. 

The Disconnect

Having healthy accountability seems to already be a given in ESOPs, where the financial incentive fosters a culture of caring for one another and the organization’s success. However, not all employees immediately recognize this connection; some may perceive accountability in terms of completing tasks rather than interpersonal relationships. ESOPs often over-emphasize the financial benefits of employee ownership, sometimes overlooking the importance of creating an environment where employees feel empowered to contribute to organizational decisions.

Employee ownership does not guarantee healthy accountability in an organization. To fully harness the advantages of employee ownership, employee owners must be empowered to come to the table full of curiosity and engagement, as well as being personally invested in the team. Healthy accountability is about creating an environment where employees can build impactful interpersonal connections, and have strong shared commitments with their teams.

Employee owners who foster healthy accountability engage in the following:

  • Support one another as fellow owners 
  • Take pride in their work and workplace 
  • Innovate to enhance process improvement and meet customer expectations 
  • Demonstrate mutual trust and respect 
  • Take an active interest in improving how the company operates and achieves financial success

If you are a leader in an ESOP organization, it is important to nurture these attributes amongst employees. By promoting a culture of healthy accountability, you create an environment where employee owners thrive, leading to sustained organizational success. Join Good Leadership’s Accountability Research Project to contribute to groundbreaking research in this area. Email to learn more.

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