It is easy to point the finger when things go wrong. When productivity levels drop, when there are issues with the quality of work in your department, or when mistakes are frequently being made, it is often a knee-jerk reaction to blame the seemingly responsible individual. Directing accountability to the person at fault may seem fair, but a trait of a strong leader is understanding that you are responsible for everything that happens within your organization, and being willing to own up to that when mistakes are made.

Sharon manages 10 employees in the loan production department at a local community bank. Brittany, one of her employees, has quarterly production goals that are expected to be met. Last quarter, Britany failed to meet her production goals, and this current quarter Brittany has not even at the halfway mark for meeting her sales quota.

The end of the quarter comes and goes, and Sharon’s supervisor questions her about why production levels have not been met for the past two quarters for her department and disciplines her for allowing this to happen twice in a row. Sharon immediately goes on the defensive, blaming Brittany for not meeting her goals. Her manager quickly coaches her on how it is her responsibility to be aware of areas in which her employee is struggling, to train then appropriately in these areas, and to take preventative measures to ensure mistakes do not occur.

At the end of the day, one of our biggest duties as supervisors is managing our employees. Part of that is taking responsibility for the actions of your employees. Granted, depending on the situation you may not have any control over their actions, but it is your responsibility to be aware of what your employees are doing. Familiarize yourself with their work and be attentive to their needs. Setting the example of being willing to take responsibility for the actions of your employees will prove to them your commitment and dedication, providing them with guidelines of how to take accountability for their own performance and behaviors.