Posted by Jenni Catron on May 5, 2021 2:04:28 PM

Back in 2021 as we were all navigating the challenges of remote work, a survey of U.S. employees found that nearly half of the respondents said they would likely look for another job if their employer did not offer a hybrid workplace.


Back in 2021 as we were all navigating the challenges of remote work, a survey of U.S. employees found that nearly half of the respondents said they would likely look for another job if their employer did not offer a hybrid workplace. 


After a couple of years of wrestling with this dynamic, I still hear concerns and frustrations for how to maintain healthy team culture and productivity while also allowing for the flexibility of hybrid work. In fact, some companies are even pushing for a full return to the office. 


We know that relationships, trust, and camaraderie - many of the things that help build good team dynamics and great culture - are important reasons for your team to office together. And while the battles rage over whether in office or remote work is the answer, I do believe you can build great culture AND provide flexible work options.


But I do think there is one primary reason that organizations get stuck while attempting to make this both/and scenario a reality: Accountability


In many small to medium-sized organizations, accountability was directly related to your proximity. Lacking systems to support accountability, we could walk down the hall, yell over the cubicle wall or gather everyone together for a meeting to ensure we were on target with our goals. 


Our lack of discipline to create healthy systems for accountability forced us to manage by proximity.


Accountability by proximity is a poor model and a grossly ineffective one in a hybrid work world.


Without healthy rhythms of accountability, leaders take on a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde management personality. One day you’re believing the best in your team, slapping virtual high fives and trusting that they are working diligently on your greatest priorities. The next day you’re chasing them down and micro-managing details because a ball was dropped and you’ve lost all faith in your team’s ability to meet expectations.


Accountability builds culture. How you handle accountability determines the type of culture you create.


So let’s look at some effective ways to build a rhythm of accountability that becomes core to your culture and sets your team up for success.


  1. Make clean agreements. Have you ever left a meeting wondering when (or if) what you just discussed will actually get done? If so, you lacked a clean agreement. Clean agreements mean that everyone involved agrees on who is doing what by when. Sounds ridiculously simple, but clarifying WHO is doing WHAT by WHEN (a specific date) is the forerunner to accountability. If we have not provided this clarity, it’s difficult to hold people accountable.
  2.  Write a remote work policy. I know…you cringed at the word “policy,” but this is one area where the specific clarity of a policy is really important. You must be clear and consistent with your remote work expectations. As you consider your flexible work options, you set specific expectations for when employees are required to be in the office. Which meetings must they attend? If you have different categories for employees (i.e. those who are full-time in the office, those who have a hybrid schedule and those who are fully remote), you must clarify the distinctions among these categories, what you will or will not provide, etc. Being consistent and clear is essential.
  3. Review your rhythms for accountability. Are your meeting agendas consistent? Are you keeping your one-on-one meetings with your staff? Do you hold monthly or quarterly all-staff meetings in person? Set a rhythm for meetings that ensures consistency which, in turn, ensures accountability. 

In order to move into this next season with the healthiest culture possible and to have the best plan in place for your team moving forward with flexibility, your approach to accountability is crucial. Take some time to evaluate your systems of accountability and begin to implement changes if needed.


Want to learn more about this topic?

We have a helpful FREE resource to guide you through best practices for great meetings, one of the best mechanisms for accountability. Click here for the Better Meetings Worksheet.



** Are You New to The 4Sight Group?  **

As leaders, we’re full of ideas and initiatives. We see potential and opportunity all around. We can almost taste the outcome, but often we get bogged down by how we’ll get from here to there.

The “how” can be overwhelming and discouraging, so we give up on our goals or fail to build a plan to help us achieve them.

These five steps will get you and your team on the path to moving from ideas to action! We’d love to have you join our community and access this  free PDF!


Jenni Catron Circle

Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.

Jenni is the author of several books, including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership.






Topics: Self Awareness, Vision, Team Culture

Leave Comment

Subscribe To Our Blog

Most Popular

Post By Topic

See all