Question: Should complacency be deemed as carelessness (the Means and Ability were in place)? Is this an accountability issue, and therefore should we censure for carelessness?
Answer: For people to make a contribution to standard or better requires three things: the need to have the Means to do so (allowed); the Ability to do so (can); and the Accountability (will) to do so.
If ‘complacency’ means the person couldn’t be bothered or couldn’t care less, then this is a lack of will to do what is required of him/her. As such the person should be censured or warned that this attitude to the job is not acceptable and needs to change. He/she needs to choose careful rather than careless next time.
But ‘complacency’ could also be about low standards or a tolerance of mediocrity. If so, this is a leadership issue. The problem here is that the leader is setting the bar too low.
The leader should raise the standard and insist that the more exacting standard is adhered to.
The only person who sets the standard is the leader. The standard that is expected, demonstrated and walked past is the standard the leader gets. If complacency has become the norm, blame the leaders, not the employees.