One of the most asked questions I get is around employee accountability. In fact, if I had a penny for the amount of times I get asked about accountability… well I would have a lot of pennies!
In any case it’s clearly a pain point and that’s why I wanted to introduce you to the framework that I teach my New Manager Accelerator students.
So here’s the deal, I want you to think of accountability like this: you need four puzzle pieces in order to be able to hold team members accountable and to establish an accountability culture within the team.
Would you prefer to read rather than watch? Not to worry! You can read the blog post below.
But first, to really help you stand out in your new role I highly recommend downloading The Ultimate Guide to Being an Effective Team Leader. A free downloadable interactive guide to help you show up and stand out and take the right action steps.
The puzzle pieces are as follows:
These are the four pieces of the puzzle OR the framework that I’ve found to be highly effective at holding the team accountable.
So let’s talk about each one for a second starting with…
I’m always preaching clarity and it’s because without it you will be ineffective at what you do in more ways than one.
Now the trick is to ensure you have gained clarity on the most important components of your role and your department.
That comes from a variety of places, but either way you need to be 100% crystal clear on three things:
>>Where you are
>>Where you’re going
>>Why you are headed in that direction
Without having a full understanding of those critical points you will not be able to hold a single person on your team accountable. So if you are lacking in those three areas, I suggest you go back to the drawing board and do a deep dive to get yourself clarity on the expectations of you and your department.
The second puzzle piece or part of the framework is providing clear expectations for your team members.
You need to articulate what specifically everyone must do in order to achieve the set goals, results and responsibilities that you have outlined.
When your team is not 100% clear on the goals they’re expected to hit, or the behaviors that you expect then there are no indicators to hold them to and as a result you’ll notice these symptoms:
Team members failing to ask questions about projects or deadlines
Team members taking extra time to complete simple tasks
Team members working on too many projects at once before finishing the one prior
And all of this leads you further and further away from your goals rather than closer to it. This is why getting clarity in the first place is so crucial because without that clarity you can’t possibly give clarity.
Expectation setting comes in a variety of flavors and falls into a couple of buckets.
For example, there is:
>>Individual expectations based on responsibilities
Each category must be clear in order to have a good solid accountability culture.
Now of course there are specific strategies that you can use to make sure that your expectation setting is being received the way you intend and if you want a deeper dive on this in terms of how specifically you can do this, check out the details of The New Manager Accelerator because it’s within the accelerator that I go deep on providing students with specific tips and scripts when it comes to expectation setting.
The third piece of the puzzle is implications.
This is the piece of the framework that most people fail at. If team members are not aware of what’s at stake, then why should they believe there are any consequences to their actions?
Give you an example. Couple months ago I got on a call with a manager who was seeking out leadership development through the New Manager Accelerator Live Group Coaching Program. I like to talk to people before they enter the program because I want to make sure they would be a good fit and not someone that is not going to make the most of the program.
Anyways, when I asked her WHY she was searching for development she said something very telling. She said that her manager had put her on a performance improvement plan and that prompted her to look for support.
But then and this is the telling part, she said, “I kinda feel like my manager is calling my bluff or putting me on this performance plan to scare me into action.”
Clearly her manager did not do a good enough job of articulating the implications or consequences behind her not improving otherwise she would have taken it seriously.
Somewhere along the line her manager must have set the precedent that she doesn’t follow through on what she says she will. Leaving her to conclude that the PIP was not a real issue.
Now I know I’m talking about a fellow manager in this case, but the same is true for you.
If you don’t articulate the consequences and if on top of it you are the type of person that is wobbly on consequences then no one will believe you when you say things need to get done.
We train people how to act by our actions AND inactions.
The final piece is commitment. Once you’ve clarified the expectations and stated the implications you want to move forward and get their commitment.
Remember just because you told a team member to do something it doesn’t mean they will if you have not solicited their commitment.
In fact, without their commitment, it becomes easier for them to say things like, “well I didn’t know or I didn’t understand”.
So make the commitment to always get that commitment and then also to be committed to the process.
Do what you say you’re going to do whether that be in providing them the support they need or in holding them to their word.