Accountability is by far one of the most pressing issues I come across as I work with teams who are striving to improve their results. It is the issue we come back to over and over and one that frustrates many leaders. Accountability is the exact opposite of “that’s not my job”. It is about follow through and follow up and ultimately simply getting things done when you said you would. It is recognizing that others need you to do your work so they can do theirs.
Accountability is doing what you promise. Doing what you said you would do by the time you said you would do it.
A Workplace Accountability study done in 2015 revealed some disturbing results. 82% of the respondents felt they had no ability to hold others accountable. That is where the challenge for leaders starts because we know for certain that decreased accountability leads to low levels of trust which crushes morale and leads to decreased employee engagement. The Gallup Organization has already shared in August 2018 what I consider to be devastating data that only 34% of the American Workforce is actively engaged in their work…and that is a tie for the highest levels of engagement since they began these studies in 2000!!
Who do you want on your team? An engaged, creative, active contributor that you can ‘count on’… or someone who barely does what they need to do to meet the minimum requirements of their job?
So how do you promote a culture of accountability? Here are four steps to follow:
- Start with self: You are the role model. If you promise, deliver.
- Make sure your employees are clear on:
- What is expected of them
- That they will absolutely be held accountable
- The ways you will monitor their progress and productivity (usually mutually agreed upon)
- Have the conversations, immediately. Focus on the performance, not the person. Tell them and tell them often what they are doing well and what they aren’t. If you are clear about the action and behaviors you expect, the conversation is much easier.
- Share the expectation that the best teams don’t wait for the leader to hold the members accountable…members of great teams hold each other accountable.
Here is a quote that is a favorite by Joe Dumars, a great basketball player from the 90’s.
“On good teams, coaches hold players accountable. On great teams, players hold players accountable”
Now go be the best leader you can be!
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